Saturday, December 9, 2017



This morning we are going to continue our Christmas series. After reviewing some history to help set the stage we will begin by reading from the Word of God in Luke, chapter 1. Then we’ll conclude with principles that will offer us an opportunity to apply God’s Word to our lives today.

Keep in mind that he Bible does not intend to tell us everything that happened during the time of the patriarchs or in the life of Jesus for that matter. There are intentional gaps in the time line for which history provides added perspective. The most noted gaps are the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments and all that has happened since the close of the Apostolic age and the first-generation Church. As well,  

John 21:25  And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

·        There are 12 judges listed in the Old Testament book of Judges.
·        However, throughout the Bible and since its canonization, there are many more men and women who were destined, prepared and used by God to deliver His children from persecution through miraculous means and by God’s divine intervention at their hands.
·        God is a God of miracles.
·        Last week we learned:
o   God can do anything – miracles included …
o   God works through people …
o   God’s people can do anything with His help.
·        There are modern day men and women called and destined to be used by God to deliver His message and lead His Children.

Now for a little historical perspective:

In brief and general terms, around 160 years before Christ was born the Jewish nation was under the rule of the Syrian-Greek Seleucid Empire. The Jews were divided between into two main groups. Those living in Jerusalem who had been “Hellenized” and greatly influenced by the Greeks and their watered-down way of life and worship, and those living in the country who followed a more traditional holy way of life and who worshipped according to the Law. The Greek King Antiochus IV hoping to increase revenues, sided with those in Jerusalem and even went a big step further. Antiochus, a mad man, attempted to abolish Judaism by outlawing worship of any god except the Greek gods. He erected a statue of Zeus in the Temple Ezra had built to Jehovah and installed his own high priest.

Jews rebelled and in the end five brothers lead the Maccabean revolt and won a great victory, recapturing the temple mount and taking back control of Jerusalem through their innovative guerrilla warfare tactics. They then performed a ritualistic cleansing of the Temple in efforts to restore true worship to Jehovah. One big problem was discovered however … there was only enough holy consecrated oil found to light the lamp in the Temple for one day … that was just not enough time to resupply this special oil.

They decided to depend on the Lord and go ahead and light the lamp and, miraculously the flame continued to burn for 8 days … enough time for them to resupply the oil. This was a noted miracle among the people.

Everyone in Jerusalem witnessed this miracle and it was vowed that this miracle would be remembered, and a festival would be held each year to commemorate the deliverance of the Children of God from the hand of their oppressors. God had brought salvation and so they named this 8-day festival The Festival of Lights. It has been celebrated each year beginning on the 25th of Kislev and lasting 8 days. It is a time of celebration and food and games and remembrance of the salvation God brought His children and the rededication of His Temple. Jesus would have celebrated this festival growing up in Nazareth with His family.

The Festival of Lights for this year begins on December 12th and ends 8 days later on the 20th. You may also know this festival by its Hebrew name, חנוכה, pronounced Hanukkah. It was most likely during the celebration of this Festival of Lights, around the year 4 to 6BC, that God sent an angel to visit a young girl in the town of Nazareth. Let’s read:

Luke 1 NKJV
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; blessed are you among women!”
29  But 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 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.


1.   Purity of spirit, soul and body is critical to achieving God’s best for our lives.
2.   One moment of favor is worth a thousand days of labor.

3.   Give God’s Word a chance and it will change your life.