Sometimes in church life we can go a long time without really stopping to read and think about the stories of Jesus’ birth and infancy. Each year we dip into these stories at Christmas time (with great joy!), or we look at them briefly at the beginning of a series on Luke’s or Matthew’s gospel, but often we don’t plumb the depths of these incredible passages of scripture.
With this in mind, next term in Gospel Teams we will be spending a whole term looking at the Christmas story in Luke’s gospel as we lead up to celebrating Christmas. It’s my hope that as we take this slower approach to these chapters (Luke 1-2) that we would notice things that we haven’t seen before, that we would be struck by these historical events, and that we would learn more about who our Lord Jesus is through the events surrounding his birth into our world.
One thing that strikes me from these chapters is the incredible statements that different people make about Jesus. Here are some of my favourites…
The angel’s words in 1:32-33:
32 He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.
Zechariah’s words in 1:78-79:
78 Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
79 to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Simeon’s words in 2:30-32
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
31 You have prepared it
in the presence of all peoples—
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and glory to Your people Israel.
So that’s what we’re looking forward to next term! Here’s 2 things you can do to prepare in the meantime:
1. Grab yourself a copy of the book Read / Mark / Learn: Luke Volume 1 by William Taylor, which is a Bible study resource that you might find helpful as we go through Luke 1-2. It has an introduction to Luke, commentary, and questions for reflection or group study. You can get it for as cheap as $12 online! The title of the book comes from a prayer in the Anglican Prayer Book (see below).
2. Join me in praying that God would teach us about who our Lord Jesus is, as we read his word, mark it in our hearts and minds, and learn from it. Here is the prayer you could pray from the Prayer Book where William Taylor’s book title comes from:
Gracious Lord, you have caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, encouraged and supported by your holy Word, we may embrace and always hold fast the joyful hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.