Intro to the Gospels

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NKJV

The Gospel – is the life and teachings of Jesus. They fulfill all prophesy and all law. The rest of the New Testament helps us understand how it is applied to a corrupted world and ourselves. At this point – most of the writers assume the readers have an understanding of all that we have read up to this point. You cannot teach just Gospel without giving knowledge of the old and how to apply – the entire Bible works together.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Luke, chapter 1 and the book of John, chapter 1 verses 1-14 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  Two books to be introduced today. Let me see if I can summarize these two in a few words.

Luke was a gentile, not an eye witness and a helper to Paul. Luke was a doctor.  He went and interviewed witnesses and wrote out the account. Luke also wrote the book of Acts – meaning he wrote the most words in the New Testament, more than even Paul did!

While John was a Jew, a disciple and a witness; and he began writing his account towards what would be the end of Jesus’s ministry like a journal. John would make a couple revisions adding a beginning and an end – the ending reads like a political endorsement of Peter and endorsing Peter’s endorsement of Paul (some presume this addition was added after Peter’s death to show his death was foretold by Jesus and God is still in control – as John at that time assumed the ministry in that area). John wrote the Book of John, the First book of John, Second book of John and the Third Book of John as well as the Book of Revelations.

Luke was written to Theophilus.  Who is that?!
Jewish names always have meanings and everyone had a significance. This one means “loved by God” or “Friend of God” which has led some to believe it is just a generic greeting to those who love God.  Other believe (because it says it is giving and “orderly account” and addresses Theophilus with the title “most excellent” which is like our modern day word: “Esquire”) that Theo was Paul’s attorney. The overall theme is the life of Jesus (also called The Gospel) – but it also shows things in a more broadly inclusive light – probably because Luke was a gentile. We see women, outcasts, and gentile’s stories highlighted in Jesus’s ministry. Luke’s argument to defend Paul (in a Roman court) was that Jesus and Paul have a beef with the Jewish Leaders and not with Rome.  OR more accurately Jewish Leaders have a beef with Jesus and Paul – and Jesus and Paul do not have a beef with Rome. Anyway, this makes Luke a very relatable book to the gentile.

John was written to both Jews and gentile in His church and the area (Middle East / bridge to Asia).  Some Jewish customs he explains for the reader and others he assumes the reader knows about. He led the Church of Ephesus, modern day Turkey, after Paul and Peter’s brief term. This is the same John called the beloved disciple by Jesus – they were very close. And the same John from James and John – the son’s of Zebedee, also known as the son’s of thunder for their zeal to call down lightening from heaven.

Side note – Bible character I relate with.  I think we all relate to different character at different points in our walk with the Lord. I have ALWAYS related to David, or moreover hoped to relate to David.  King David was a hot mess in many ways. He was a lustful sinner – yet, he understood humility repentance, getting right with God every single time, and just seeking God’s heart and a relationship with God. David was greatly flawed and yet had such a powerful life with God.  Because of my flaws and hopes to be humble, repentant, always willing to go back and get it right – I hope to be like David.
But I am ever so zealous! Running headlong into battles I was meant to just observe from a distance – I am ready to call down lightening! I read Elisha and know in whom I believe and he is able!!! I am ready to take on heads of state, the highest level demonic principality (yeah, I read Daniel and know even the angels who are higher in authority than me struggled against the big demons – but I have JESUS!!! WOO-HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let me run in headstrong!) I could easily be counted among the son’s of thunder! And God always lovingly pulls in the reigns on me teaching me temperance just like he did with John. I also get crazy dreams and visions – so I definitely relate to John.  I also hope for the deep revelations of who God is – John had such amazing insights as I quote todays reading ALL THE TIME!
It is good to think about the character traits of the people in the Bible and personalize their stories. Then you understand better that these were real living people and just like us – then God transformed them, like He is transforming us!  

The world we live in is crazy – just look at that area where John ministered. A couple days ago (for me it is today but this will be published in a few days) Iran mobilized towards the small nation of Azerbaijan.  They are making more threats in one day than they have in a month, maybe even a year. Things are going to erupt, unless God Himself steps in. My nation lives in a bubble for the most part and keeps a blind eye towards the world. The USA has its own issues with pride and cannot even see the pending doom – so it is not reported.  Who cares if Governor Cuomo’s replacement is demonically possessed and calling for apostles of HER to rise and follow her – have you seen IRAN?! Are we distracted with the little darts and zings from the enemy that we fail to pray over the world?

I am not saying God doesn’t lovingly care over making us better people and helping us with our struggles. But sometimes we have to get over ourselves for His name sake – there is a bigger picture we can learn from. This is important. Knowledge is important. God cannot give us wisdom and understanding if we do not know. God gave us prophesy so we actually would know! Pull your head out of the ground and look around! 

This is a time for lions and generals – and the only way to there is through quiet time in the secret place. Or as I usually describe it – time working on your personal relationship with God. 

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand! These memory verses were selected, last year for this year.  As many of you tell me of the great attacks on your lives – the timing is perfect! But of course it is, it is God!

Deuteronomy 28:7

NKJV – “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
NAS – “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated by you; they will go out against you one way and will flee at your presence seven ways.”
ESV – “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
AMP – “The LORD will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way, but flee before you seven ways.”
NIV – “The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Luke 1 and John 1:1-14 NKJV

Luke 1

Dedication to Theophilus

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which [a]have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having [b]had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

John’s Birth Announced to Zacharias

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, [c]his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you [d]these glad tidings. 20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.

23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; [e]blessed are you among women!”

29 But [f]when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I [g]do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who [h]believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

The Song of Mary

46 And Mary said:

“My soul [i]magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Birth of John the Baptist

57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.

Circumcision of John the Baptist

59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”

61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.

63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66 And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zacharias’ Prophecy

67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the [j]Dayspring from on high [k]has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 1:1 Or are most surely believed
  2. Luke 1:3 Lit. accurately followed
  3. Luke 1:9 he was chosen by lot
  4. Luke 1:19 this good news
  5. Luke 1:28 NU omits blessed are you among women
  6. Luke 1:29 NU omits when she saw him
  7. Luke 1:34 Am a virgin
  8. Luke 1:45 Or believed that there
  9. Luke 1:46 Declares the greatness of
  10. Luke 1:78 Lit. Dawn; the Messiah
  11. Luke 1:78 NU shall visit

John 1:1-14

The Eternal Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it.

John’s Witness: The True Light

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That[b] was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His [c]own, and His [d]own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [e]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Word Becomes Flesh

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Footnotes

  1. John 1:5 Or overcome
  2. John 1:9 Or That was the true Light which, coming into the world, gives light to every man.
  3. John 1:11 His own things or domain
  4. John 1:11 His own people
  5. John 1:12 authority

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