1:1-38 - God was about to do ‘a new thing’ (Isaiah 43:19). It was centred on Christ, though John also played his part (31-33,16-17). There were obstacles – Zechariah and Elizabeth were ‘old’ (18), and Mary had ‘no man’ (34). What were these obstacles to God? – Nothing: ‘with God nothing will be impossible’ (37). How are we to respond to God’s ‘new thing’? – ‘let it be to me according to Your Word’ (38). How will God’s ‘new thing’ make progress among us? – Through the power of the Holy Spirit: ‘he will be filled with the Holy Spirit’ (15), ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you…’ (34). ‘Holy Spirit, we welcome you… Move among us with holy fire… Let the breeze of your presence flow… Please accomplish in me today, some new work of loving grace, I pray; Unreservedly have Your way…’ (Mission Praise, 241).
1:39-80 - There are two great ‘songs of praise’ here (46-55,67-79). God was doing ‘a new thing’. His people were rejoicing in Him. Great things were happening. Greater things were going to happen. Soon, the Saviour would be born. The birth of John the Baptist (57-66) – This was great. The birth of our Saviour – This would be even greater. Mary and Zechariah felt the touch of God upon their lives, and their hearts were filled with praise to God: ‘When I feel the touch of Your hand upon my life, it causes me to sing a song that I love You, Lord. So from deep within my spirit singeth unto Thee, You are my King, You are my God, and I love You Lord’ (Mission Praise, 753). John was ‘in the wilderness’. He ‘became strong in spirit’ (80). May God help us to grow spiritually, even when life is not very easy!
2:1-20 - God is in control! Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Long before it happened, God had it planned (1-7; Micah 5:2-3). As we approach Christ’s Return, God still has His plan. He is still in control. The birth of Christ is not merely an event from the past. It is also a message for the future. We look back so that we can move forward. We are fearful about many things. ‘What’s the world coming to?’, we ask. God turns our question on its head: ‘Christ is coming to the world’. From His first coming, we look on to His Second Coming – He ‘will come to all the people’ (10): ‘every eye will see Him’ (Revelation 1:7). His Return invites us to ask another question: ‘when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?’ (18:8). For you, is it still ‘before Christ’? Let the ‘new age’ begin: Let Christ be ‘born this day’ (11) – in your heart!
2:21-52 - Jesus ‘fulfilled all righteousness’ (Matthew 3:15). His circumcision and presentation to the Lord was ‘according to the law of Moses’ (21-24; Leviticus 12:1-8). Jesus’ obedience was always more than mere conformity to ‘the written code’. He was walking ‘in the Spirit’. He was filled with ‘the Spirit of the living God’ (2 Corinthians 3:3,6). His obedience came ‘from the heart’ and His ‘praise’ came ‘not from men but from God’ (Romans 6:17; 2:29). What joy there was for Simeon and Anna! This was ‘salvation’, ‘redemption’ (30,38). As you journey through life, don’t ‘lose Jesus’ (43-45). Keep close to Him! If you do ‘lose Him’, where will you find Him again? – ‘In the temple’ (46). Have you lost your way? Find your way back to ‘the sanctuary of God’ – and things will start to fall into place again (Psalm 73:16-17)!