Saturday, May 13, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Luke 1-2

We continue our “Read-thru the Bible” scripture reading today focusing on the Gospel of Luke chapters 1-2.  Written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the human author of the Gospel of Luke is “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14).  Luke’s occupation was that of a medical doctor; however, his writings in the Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts reveal he was a historian and travel companion of the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys (Acts 16:10).  The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts are historical letters penned by Luke to a friend named Theophilus (Luke 1:1-3; Acts 1:1) and the opening verses of each reflect the passion of a historian who was a well-educated man.

Given the length and historical character of Luke 1-2, I will limit this devotional commentary to an overview of the chapters and close with a brief focus on Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Luke 1 introduces us to the miraculous conception of John the Baptist, the long-awaited forerunner of the Messiah (Luke 1:5-25).   Destined for greatness from his conception; however, it was not the greatness men thrust upon one because of his lineage (John’s father Zacharias was a priest who lived in relative obscurity).   It was prophesied of John he would be “great in the sight of the LORD” (Luke 1:15) because of his mission.  He would be the messenger of the LORD dedicated to heralding the coming of Jesus Christ, the “Lamb of God”.

Luke 1:26-38 is the record of the miraculous incarnation of Jesus Christ, conceived in the womb of the virgin named Mary of Nazareth, a child of the Holy Ghost, the only begotten Son of God (Luke 1:35-37).

Luke 1:39-56 is the record of the expecting Mary’s retreat from Nazareth to the home of her elder cousin Elisabeth whom Mary found great with child as the angel Gabriel had told her (Luke 1:36).  Luke 1:57-80 records the birth of John the Baptist and his divine mission.

The historical events surrounding the birth of Jesus and the angelic announcement of His birth are found in Luke 2:1-20.  The circumcision of Jesus (2:21-24), the prophesies of Simeon and Anna (2:25-38), and a brief insight into Jesus’ childhood are found in Luke 2:39-52.

I am taking my sermon for this Mother’s Day,  Sunday, May 14, 2017 from the dramatic moment Jesus’ gaze fell upon his mother who was standing near the cross.  When Mary visited the Temple with her eight-day-old Son (Luke 2:25-35), she received a prophecy from the elder Simeon who, taking Jesus up into his arms said to Mary, “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul” (Luke 2:35).  I believe those words haunted Mary’s thoughts throughout the years Jesus was growing from a child to a man in her home.  Standing at the foot of His cross, untold sorrows pierced Mary’s soul as she watched her sinless Son become the object of curses and scorn.

Through her tears, Mary understood Jesus was the Son of His Heavenly Father and the suffering He endured on the cross was as much for her sins as the sins of those who crucified Him (note Luke 1:46-47).   The cross severed all human ties with this physical world; however, Jesus, bearing the burden and penalty of the sins of the world, did not forget his mother.  Gazing through swollen eyes nearly closed from abuses He has suffered, His lips bruised and bleeding, Jesus speaks to His mother, “Woman, Behold thy son!” (John 19:26).  Jesus was not referring to Himself, but to John who stood at her side.  Turning His gaze to John, Jesus said, “Behold thy mother!” (John 19:27).  We read concerning John, “from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:27b).

On this Mother’s Day eve, contemplate Jesus’ example.  He remembered to provide for His mother by doing the one thing He could do…He entrusted her to the care of the one disciple who stood near the cross.   Jesus knew John shared Mary’s zeal for the LORD and would care and provide for her as though she were his mother.

In the hour of His greatest agony; He did not forget His mother!   What a wonderful lesson for us all who have mothers and grandmothers!

Friend, whether you are a mother or not, you are blessed if there are men and women in your life who love and care for you!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith