Get Ready for Christmas; Celebrate the Presence | Lk 1:5-17 Sermon [Video, Text+]

What Does It Mean to Get Ready for Christmas?

Too often, in our American society it means preparing to celebrate the presents… instead of celebrating the Presence (of the Lord).

This sermon, first shared on 12.15.19 focuses on the preparatory role of John the Baptist — who’s mission was to prepare his people for the Presence of the Lord.

Before they could follow the Way (cf. Jn 14:6), they had to stop going their own way. They had to turn around, to turn back… to repent.

Below, please find the sermon video, outline, text, and bibliography. The author’s translation (AT) is incorporated into the sermon text.

Also, text that has been grayed out was omitted from the oral presentation (for the sake of time) — but I hope it is enlightening. As always, hover over any Scripture reference and it should pop-up above the text.

Let’s Get Ready For Christmas; Celebrate the Presence!





Rapping Season (Part I)

27 percent of the Bible is poetry.1

When prophets had a word from God, they often spoke poetically.

Like fire shut up in the bones (cf. Jer 20:9) they couldn’t sit and let-it-be

I pray before my words that the Spirit goes ahead-of-me

That I may glorify the One who died for sin instead-of-me

Christmas ain’t about all the presents-and-décor

Christmas is all about the Presence-of-the-Lord

Jesus is King, He came to take-His-crown

I’m not tryna make this up, I’m tryna break-this-down

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps 19:14, NASB)

Christmas is coming up; it must be wrapping season.

Special Company

But what does it mean to get ready for Christmas? Sales and stockings? Music and mistletoe? We may have prepared our homes for company, but have we prepared our hearts for Christ?

When I was growing up, I used to love having company over the house. But there was always something we had to do before company came – something I hated doing: We had to clean up.

I be like, “Mom, why I gotta clean my room? Ain’t nobody gonna be in my room.” Next thing I know, my room turns into the room for the coats. I be like, “How she gonna tell me what should be done in my room?”

My Mom be like, “Your room? Whatchu mean, your room? You lucky I let you live here.” I had to clean up my room and allow it to be used as my mother saw fit.

About 2,000 years ago, John the Baptist came on the scene to tell people that Special Company was coming. And they had to get ready; their lives had to be cleaned up. And we can strive to clean up our lives, too.

And if I ever ask how Someone can tell me what should be done in my life, I can imagine God saying, “Whatchu mean your  life? You lucky I let you live here.”

We have to clean up our lives and allow them to be used as the Father sees fit.

Allusions: They Take Us Back

Ever hear a song or a phrase that takes you back – that reminds you of something? If I said, “I know you want to leave me, but I refuse to let you go…”2 Many would know exactly what I’m talking about.

I can say a few words and remind you of something – maybe even bring back some old memories… No, we’re not going to sing the Temptations in the sanctuary. I believe the Lord’s prayer says, “…lead us not into temptation” (Lk 11:4, NIV).

In any case, this text is dripping with Old Testament allusions.[1] So many things take us back to the Old Testament. For John the Baptist serves as a transitional bridge (cf. Lk 7:26-28)[2] between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

His purpose is to prepare the way for the Lord, to prepare God’s people for God’s Presence.

Luke 1:5 | Priestly Background

It came to pass,[3] in the days[4] of Herod, king of Judea,[5] there was a priest named Zechariah[6] from the priestly division of Abijah. And with him was his wife — from the (female) descendants [lit. “daughters”][7] of Aaron – and her name was Elizabeth[8] (Lk 1:5, AT).

King Herod, a.k.a. Herod the Great, ruled as king over Palestine[9] from 37 BC to 4 BC.[10] He was appointed king by Mark Antony and the Roman senate.[11] John the Baptist and Jesus were born right before he died (Mt 2:1, 15, 19-20).[12]

He was paranoid a king (cf. Mt 2:16), who killed many people to reign as long as possible. But he couldn’t kill the King who would reign forever and ever.

As we shall see, biblical names are important. Zechariah (cf. 1 Ch 9:21)[13] means “The LORD has remembered”[14] (again).[15]

As we find in 1 Chronicles 24 (1 Ch 24:7-18), during the reigns of Kings David and Solomon (cf. 1 Ch 23:6;[16] cf. after exile Neh 12:1-7;[17] Ez 2:36-39;[18] Ezra 10:16-22)[19]  priests were divided into 24 divisions[20] or “orders”.[21]

1 Chronicles 24:10 tells us that Abijah was the eighth division.[22] And it’s interesting that the ninth division is that of Jeshua (1 Ch 24:11) – the Hebrew form of the name Jesus.[23]

Priests could marry any godly Israelite woman[24] who was a virgin (Lev 21:14).[25] However, daughters of priests – especially those in Aaron’s family tree[26] – were preferred.[27]

So since Zechariah and Elizabeth both came from a priestly pedigree,[28] this would enhance the status of any children they had.[29] Basically, John the Baptist has the “best spiritual ancestry.”[30]

And it’s interesting, in Exodus 6, we actually find that Moses’ brother Aaron was also married to a woman named “Elizabeth” (Ex 6:23).[31] And, Aaron’s sister’s name was Miriam (Ex 15:20), which is the Hebrew form of the name Mary.[32]

This passage has so many allusions back to the Old Testament.

Luke 1:6 | Righteous and Blameless

Now they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking in all the commands and requirements of the Lord blameless(ly).[33] (Lk 1:6, AT).

In the Sight of the Master vs. the Sight of the Masses

They not only had good heritage;[34] they had godly habits.

Now, walking is a metaphor for how one behaves – how one lives.[35]  And Zechariah and Elizabeth both lived righteous in God’s sight – in God’s opinion.[36]

You know there’s a lot of people with opinions about how we should conduct ourselves. But, there’s really only One opinion that matters when it comes to how we live our life: — that of the One who gave us life.

And we have to keep this in mind. For we live in a world where what is wrong in the sight of the Creator, is right in the sight of the creatures. Isaiah 5 says:

20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight (Is 5:20-21, NIV).

Sometimes we get things twisted, as if morality is determined by democracy. Could you imagine talking to God like, “Hey God, we took a vote… and we decided that this it’s OK to do this now”? Like we make the rules?

I can imagine trying that when I was a kid. “Yea, Dad, Terrance and I took a vote… and we decided that’s OK for us to stay up and watch cartoons all night.” That wouldn’t go over well.

How can the kids talk back to the Father? How can the clay talk back to the Potter (cf. Is 64:8)?

In any case, Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous and blameless – in God’s sight.

Blameless, not Sinless

Now the words righteous and blameless often occur together when describing some important Old Testament figures (cf. Job 12:4[37]).

Noah (Gen 6:9)[38] (cf. Gen 7:1),[39] Job (Job 1:1),[40] and Abraham were all described as righteous and blameless (Gen 17:1;[41] Gen 26:5).[42]

This is familiar biblical language.[43]

That being said, these people were not perfect (Gen 9:21; Job 42:3-6)[44] nor sinless[45] (cf. Lk 1:18-20).[46] Yet they followed God’s commands faithfully[47] (cf. Dt 30:15-20;[48] Ps 119:1).[49]

Here, righteous refers to someone who lives according to the will of God.[50] This does not refer to being made righteous in God’s sight through the blood of Christ (as we read in Paul’s writings cf. Rom 3:21-23).[51]

It means being morally “upright”[52] (Dt 6:25 cf. Gen 6:8, 7:1; Ezek 14:14).[53]

They walked uprightly and obediently in the sight of the Lord. We’ll never be perfect, but we have to walk faithfully. So, I’ll pray for you and you pray-for-me.

Luke 1:7 | Blameless Yet Childless

And[54] they had no child, because Elizabeth was unable to have children and they were both advanced in age [lit. in their days] (Lk 1:7, AT).  

The Shame of No Seed

Zechariah and Elizabeth were good people who came from good families; they seem like “the ideal couple”.[55] Yet, they had no children.

As Elizabeth confesses in verse 25 (Lk 1:25),[56] in their culture, to be childless was a great misfortune[57] and disgrace[58] (cf. Gen 30:23; 1 Sam 1:5-6).[59]

Having children was seen as a divine blessing (cf. Psalm 128:2-4)[60] for faithfulness.[61] Not having children was often seen as divine punishment for sin.[62] Many people would assume they had done something wrong.[63]

Even today, many people believe that if something bad happens to someone, they must have done something wrong.  But as Scripture tells us, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer (cf. Psalm 37).

In addition, children were expected to take care of their parents as they grew older (cf. 1 Tim 5:4, 8);[64] they were to honor their father and mother (Ex 20:12).

Back then, if one had no children, one had no social security. So, this was a tough situation both socially and economically.

Nonetheless, we’ve already been told that this situation is not due to their sin.[65] For they were morally upright in God’s sight (Lk 1:6). Zechariah and Elizabeth are not childless because of sin, but so that the works of God might be revealed in them (cf. Jn 9:3).[66]

OT Allusions

Jewish readers would pick up on the parallels with Old Testament matriarchs, who were also not able to have children (στεῖρα, | steira)– at first.[67]

As you may recall, Isaac’s wife Rebekah[68] (Gen 25:21),[69] Jacob’s wife Rachel[70] (Gen 29:31;[71] 30:1),[72] Samuel’s mother Hannah[73] (1 Samuel 1-2)[74] and the mother of Samson[75] (Judg 13:2)[76] were all unable able to conceive – at first.

However, the situation is most similar to that of Abraham and Sarah (cf. Gen 18:11)[77] (cf. Gen 11:30;[78] 16:1)[79] for Sarah and Elizabeth were both too old to have children.[80]

Like others who were miraculously born to women unable to conceive, John the Baptist will be a major player in God’s game plan.[81]

Luke 1:8 | Near the Presence

And it came to pass, while he was serving as a priest in the presence of God when it was the turn[82] of his division, (Lk 1:8, AT).

Priests served in the temple[83] where the special Presence of the LORD dwelled in the Most Holy Place – also called the Holy of Holies.[84]

Luke 1:9 | Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter into the sanctuary of the Lord to burn an incense offering. (Lk 1:9, AT).

Discerning God’s Will: Lots of Lots

Now, at this time, there were perhaps as many 18,000 priests and Levites.[85] So they had more than enough help to run the Temple.

All divisions served during the time of the major Jewish festivals (Passover, Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles,[86] and the Day of Atonement).[87] During the other times, each of the 24 divisions[88] served in two nonconsecutive weeks per year[89] on a rotating schedule.[90]

When the appointed time for a division came, the priests would cast lots to decide who would do what.[91]

Casting lots, which had certain rules and regulations,[92] was used to decide many things in Scripture (Lev 16:8; Neh 10:34; 1 Ch 26:14;[93] cf. Num 27:21, etc.)[94]

It’s similar to throwing dice and was used to discern the will of God.[95] Proverbs 16:33 says: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”[96]

Eventually, the disciples replace Judas by casting lots (Ac 1:26).[97]

Discerning God’s Will: The Spirit and the Scriptures

That being said, we don’t need to resort to such methods today. I don’t want anyone thinking I said it was OK to get a magic 8 ball.

Since the Holy Spirit has come (cf. Ac 2:1-4), we can rely on Him for guidance.[98] Romans 8 tells us that we who are the children of God are led by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14)[99] (cf. Jn 14:26, 16:13).[100]

Not to mention, the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures. And the Scriptures guide us as a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path (Ps 119:105).

Sometimes we yearn to hear a word from the Lord. We look for voicemail, without checking His text messages.

Cast the Lot, Hit the Lottery

In any case, because of the large number of priests, to burn an incense offering was essentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.[101] Some priests never got the chance.[102]

But we can see how God orchestrated this entire encounter.[103] This is Zechariah’s big day – the biggest moment of his life.[104]

Incense offerings (Ex 30:7-8),[105] were burned daily before the morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice[106] – at sunrise and dusk.[107] Luke doesn’t specify,[108] but it is likely the evening offering[109] (cf. Dan 9:21).[110]

This may have been done to “quench the stench” of the dead animals that had been previously sacrificed. [111]

You know at certain times, when we do certain things, and there’s a certain odor, people light a match to get rid of the smell.

The priest whose lot was chosen would typically clean the altar,[112] burn fresh incense, and prostrate himself[113] in prayer[114] (and then leave (cf. Lk 1:21)).[115]

The Temple complex (ἱερόν | hieron (cf. Lk 2:27, 37, 46))[116] had several courts and chambers.[117] The central building in the complex – the sanctuary (ναός | naos)[118] – is where sacrifices were offered.

Here, Luke is referring to the sanctuary,[119] which was also called the Holy Place.[120] Only priests could enter the sanctuary.[121]

And only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place – once a year on the Day of Atonement[122] (i.e., Yom Kippur).

On the Day of Atonement (or Yom Kippur) sacrifices were made for the entire nation of Israel (Lev 16:1-34; Heb 9:6-7).[123]

Luke 1:10 | Praying for the Presence

And the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the time of the incense offering. (Lk 1:10, AT).

The times of the morning and evening sacrifices were also the main times for public prayer (cf. Ac 3:1[124] cf. Ez 9:5-15; Dan 9:21).[125] The people were outside of the sanctuary but still inside the Temple complex.[126].

Jewish men would be in the Court of Israel; Jewish women would be in the Court of women.[127]

The rising smoke from the incense symbolized the people’s prayers rising to God[128] (Ps 141:2; Rev 5:8, 8:3-4).[129]

According to a later tradition, the people would pray, “May the merciful God enter the Holy Place and accept with favor the offering of his people.”[130] They prayed for the LORD’s Presence.

Luke 1:11 | Angel on the Right

Then an angel[131] of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of the incense[132] offering (Lk 1:11, AT).

The altar was in the center of the sanctuary – outside the Most Holy Place.[133] And, in their culture, the right side was the place of honor[134] and power[135] and favor.[136]

As you may recall, Jesus is portrayed as sitting at the right hand of God (cf. Ac 7:55).[137]

Zechariah is a holy priest, in a holy place, performing a holy sacrifice – and then he sees a holy creature.[138]

As you may recall, an angel also[139] appeared to the mother of Samson[140] (Judg 13:3)[141] and to Hagar[142] (the mother of Ishmael) (Gen 16:7-11, 15)[143] (also see 1 Samuel 3; Isaiah 6; Zec 3:1;[144] Gen 18:9-15;[145] Gen 25:23).[146]

In verse 19, the angel identifies himself as Gabriel[147] (cf. Dan 9:21)[148] – which means “man of God”.[149]

Now the word translated appear (ὁράω | horaō)[150] describes “an objective appearance, not a subjective vision.”[151]

It’s actually the same word used to describe the physical appearance of the Resurrected Lord (Lk 24:34, Ac 13:31, 1 Cor 15:5-8).[152] This is very real;[153] and Zechariah is real scared.

Luke 1:12 | Shook!

And when Zechariah saw [the angel], he was shaken and fear fell upon him (Lk 1:12, AT).

You ever see something that shook you up? The word here literally means “to shake together”.[154] Zechariah was in great emotional distress[155] – he was shook!

Fear is the typical reaction for someone in Scripture who encounters an angel[156] (cf. Judg 6:22-23, 13:22; Dan 8:16-17, 10:10-11; Is 6:5;[157] cf. Ex 15:16, Judg 13:6; 2 Sam 6:9).[158]

As a result, angels often tell people not to be afraid[159] (Lk 1:13, 29;[160] cf. Gen 21:17, 35:17;1 Sam 4:20).[161] As we read in verse 13 (Lk 1:13)…

Luke 1:13 | Fear Not, Prayer(s?) Answered

But the angel said to him, “Do not fear, Zechariah, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. And you shall call him the name John.” (Lk 1:13, AT).

What was on Zechariah’s Wish List?

But what was Zechariah’s petition? What was his prayer?

Some believe he prayed for the redemption of Israel[162] and the coming of the long-awaited Messiah.[163] Priests typically would pray for Israel’s deliverance[164] (cf. Lk 2:25, 38)[165] and this was the main point of the evening prayer[166] and sacrifice (cf. Dt 9:20).[167]

Yet, others say he was praying for a son.[168] But it wouldn’t be appropriate to pray for private wishes during his priestly service.[169] And, by that time, he may have thought his ship had sailed.[170]

However, it could be both:[171] he may have prayed for a son privately in the past[172] and now offered a priestly petition for the salvation of Israel.[173]

In any case, God answers both prayers at the same time,[174] meeting both personal and corporate needs.[175] Don’t you know that God can answer prayer in ways we’ve never dreamed of?[176]

What is on Our Wish List?

But what’s on our Christmas wish list? Are we praying for what’s best for us or for what’s best for God’s people? Do we want God to give us more stuff or do we want God to give us more of Him?

We have a phrase for people who get into relationships because of what the other person can give them materially. They may not really love that person at all, but they like the presents they give.

In our relationship with God, are we gold diggers?

As it’s been said, we ought to “Seek God’s Face, Not His Hand”. That is, we should focus more on our personal relationship with God than the blessings He provides.

Everything is a Gracious Gift from God

In any case, John (Ἰωάννης | Iōannēs) comes from the Hebrew name יוחנן, Yôh̥ānān, which means “Yahweh [The LORD] is gracious”[177] or “The LORD has shown favor.”[178]

God is graciously showing favor by giving them a child who will bring about change.[179]

You know sometimes we get things twisted and think that God owes us something. Romans 11:35 says, “Who has ever given to God that God should repay them?” (Rom 11:35, NIV) (Nobody!).

Everything we have flows from God’s grace – His unmerited favor. God doesn’t owe us nothin’;[180] but we owe Him everything.

Divine Naming

In the Old Testament, angels also announced the names of Ishmael (Gen 16:11)[181] and Isaac (Gen 17:19)[182] (cf. Judg 13:2-23).[183] In fact, the language is almost identical to the angel’s words about Isaac.[184]

Also, Isaiah’s great prophecy says: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Is 7:14, NIV).[185]

You see, in Scripture, when God names someone, it often relates to their destiny (cf. Gen 32:28; Is 9:6; Mt 1:21; Lk 1:31)[186] or how they will be used for God’s plan (cf. Gen 17:19;[187] Hos 1:6, 9;[188]; 1 Ki 13:2).[189]

Later an angel will tell Mary to name her child Jesus, because he will save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21).[190] Jesus or Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous) is the equivalent to the Hebrew name Yeshua or Joshua, which means, “The LORD saves.”

When God names someone in Scripture, it is of great importance. When we give names, it is important to a degree, but it doesn’t necessarily affect someone’s destiny. If it did, I would change my name to Rich Tall.

Luke 1:14 | Overjoyed

There will be joy and exultation for you.[191] And many, on account of his birth, will be overjoyed (Luke 1:14, AT).

It’s no surprise that having a child would cause rejoicing for John’s parents. But the angel suggests his birth would cause rejoicing for John’s people.[192]

Now, as we’ll see, John the Baptist told people to repent. And repentance is almost a dirty word in our culture.

But, though it might sound like a negative message, John will bring about joy.[193] People would rejoice because he’s instrumental in ushering in the messianic age,[194] preparing the way for the Lord.

Salvation had finally come near.[195]

Luke 1:15  | Godly Greatness; Filled with the Spirit — not Wine & Spirits

For he will be great in the eyes of the Lord, he may never drink any wine or alcoholic beverage, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while still in his mother’s womb[196] (Lk 1:15).

Holy vs. Human Standards

In Luke 7:28, Jesus says, “among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Lk 7:28).[197] John will be great in the sight (i.e., judgment)[198] of the Lord because he will be used in the service of the Lord.[199]

Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? Who is the greatest singer of all time? Who’s the greatest rapper of all time?

People can argue about this for hours. You know why? Part of the reason is that there is no objective criteria for basketball players, singers, or rappers. Everyone has their own subjective standard.

However, as we’ve said, when it comes to living life, the only criteria that matters is from the One who is giving life.

Being great in the eyes of God means living to serve Him.[200] Are we trying to be great? By who’s standard? It’s not about human standards; it’s about holy standards.[201]

Life isn’t merely about personal fortune or fame, or personal love and happiness. We know that love and happiness can make you do wrong and can make you do right.3  It’s not about happiness; it’s about holiness.

Power from the spirits Spirit

The word translated alcoholic beverage refers to fermented drinks made from grain and not grapes.[202]

Though some translate it “strong drink”,[203] they didn’t have distilled beverages like whiskey, gin, or vodka back then.[204] Although the term can also refer to any fermented drink in general,[205] it likely refers to beverages like beer.[206]

Basically, John the Baptist was to abstain from alcohol his whole life (cf. Lk 7:33)[207] due to his special consecration for service to the Lord.[208]

You know anyone who drinks a little something and starts thinkin’ they’re Superman? Some people get real bold after a little bit of liquor. They get liquid courage.

In ancient times, some actually thought that one could get divine powers by drinking alcohol.[209]

In contrast, John the Baptist would be empowered by the Holy Spirit; not wine and spirits.[210] Ephesians 5:18 says: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18, NIV).[211]

Be filled with the Spirit; not the spirits.

John the Baptist: Priest/Prophet

In the Old Testament, Nazirites were people who made a special vow to God, dedicating themselves for service. Part of the Nazirite vow was to abstain from alcohol (Num 6:1-4).[212]

They also could not cut their hair or come near dead bodies (Num 6:1-21).[213]

These vows were typically temporary,[214] but Samson’s mother was told that her child was to be a Nazirite from birth[215] (cf. Judg 13:7)[216] (also see 1 Sam 1:11 LXX).[217] Samuel’s mother also said that no razor would ever be used on his head (1 Sam 1:11).[218]

So perhaps John is being portrayed as a sort of Nazirite prophet.[219]

However, Leviticus also tells us that priests could not drink wine or beer during their service (Lev 10:9).[220] All things considered, John has elements of both priest and prophet.[221]

Prenatal Prophetic Preparation

Being filled with the Spirit is what enables John the Baptist to prophesy.[222] And he will be filled while still[223] in his mother’s womb (cf. Lk 1:41).[224]

In the Old Testament, the Spirit would come upon certain people for certain tasks – temporarily (cf. 1 Sam 16:13;[225] 1 Sam 10:10).[226] But, John will be filled with the Spirit permanently[227] – as Christians are today.[228]

John is the only person said to be filled with the Spirit in the womb.[229] This may not ever happen again, but children in the womb – who are created in God’s image – can certainly still be used by God.

Luke 1:16  | Back-to-God Movement

And he will turn many of the descendants [lit. sons] of Israel back to the Lord their God (Lk 1:16).

The word translated turn refers to a changed “course of conduct”[230] and can refer to a “religious or moral conversion”[231] (cf. 1 Th 1:9-10)[232] and “repentance” (cf. Dt 30:2; 1 Sam 7:3; Hos 3:5, 7:10; Ac 15:19).[233]

John would “bring back”[234] God’s covenant people – back to their LORD (cf. Mal 2:6).[235]

Marcus Garvey wanted his people to go back to the motherland; John the Baptist wanted his people to go back to the Father’s hand.[236]

John has priestly blood from both sides of his family. And he will serve like a priest – he will be an intermediary between God and God’s people Israel.[237] Many, but not all, will respond.[238]

Luke 1:17  | John the Baptist: The Elijah who Prepared People for the Presence

And he will go before Him, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare for the Lord a people made ready (Lk 1:17, AT).

The Forerunner

Go before Him refers to John being the “forerunner” of the Lord.[239]

Jews knew that Elijah was to come before the Day of the Lord[240] (Mal 4:5-6; Sir 48:10;[241] cf. Mk 1:2, 9:11-12),[242] which meant both salvation (for the faithful) and judgment (for the faithless).[243]

Gabriel’s words likely echo Malachi 4:5-6 (Hb. 3:23),[244] which says:

5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (Mal 4:5-6, NIV cf. Lk 1:76).[245]

Vertical and Horizontal Reconciliation

There’s much debate about the meaning of turning hearts of the parents to their children.[246] But it seems that it likely means that generations of families will be reconciled[247] (cf. Mic 7:5-6[248]; Mt 10:21, 35-36; Mk 13:12; Lk 12:53)[249] (cf. Col 3:21).[250]

If people are on one accord[251] with their vertical relationship with God, it should lead to harmonious horizontal relationships with one another.[252]

As you may recall, the first and greatest commandment concerns the vertical relationship: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’” (Lk 10:27a, NIV).[253]

And the second commandment concerns the horizontal relationship: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Lk 10:27b, NIV cf. Col 1:4, Philem 5; Eph 1:15).[254] [the vertical and horizontal (cross) shape of Christian love].

However, it could refer to the fathers – the older generation who have fallen away from the Lord – turn to the sons – the younger generation who follow the Lord.[255]

It could also mean that the fathers of the Jewish faith – the patriarchs – would view their descendants favorably after they repented (cf. Is 29:22f.).[256] It could also mean that fathers would fulfill their fatherly duties of discipline.[257]

Empowered for Prophecy

The spirit of Elijah does not refer to Elijah’s human spirit, but the divine Spirit, – the Holy Spirit which also possessed Elijah.[258]

As you may recall, In 2 Kings 2, Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion[259] of his Spirit (2 Ki 2:9-10).[260] And Elisha goes on to perform twice as many miracles as Elijah (cf. Sir 48:12).[261]

However, John the Baptist did not perform any miracles[262] (cf. Jn 10:41).[263] The power of Elijah does not refer to Elijah’s prophetic miracles (cf. 1 Kings 17-18)[264] but Elijah’s prophetic authority.[265]

Like Elijah, John proclaims a powerful message calling for repentance. And, in Luke and Acts, the Spirit often empowers people to proclaim the word of God boldly (Lk 4:14-15; Acts 2; Ac 4:31).[266]

We, too, need to pray for boldness to proclaim word of God.

It’s easy to do what everyone else is doing, and say what everyone else is saying, and think like everyone else is thinking.

It’s easy to go with the flow. But, as it’s been said, only dead fish swim with the stream. Since we’ve been made alive in Jesus, we can’t just fit in with the culture; we have to stand out for Christ.

Godly Wisdom

The word translated understanding refers to a “way of thinking”,[267] a “frame of mind”[268], a mindset. John would change the mindset of the rebellious to mindset of the wise – wise with the godly wisdom (see Proverbs 4).[269]

You ever know anyone who had book smarts but no common sense? A good GPA can lead to a good college and a good job. But godly wisdom can lead to good judgment and a good life – a life pleasing to the LORD.

By changing people’s mindset to that of godly wisdom, people would be prepared for the Lord.[270]

The Elijah who Was to Come to Prepare

A people prepared (cf. 2 Sam 7:24;[271] Is 43:7)[272] alludes to Isaiah 40:3, which Luke quotes in chapter 3 (Lk 3:4):[273]

“4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’” (Lk 3:4-6, NIV).

This also recalls Malachi 3:1[274] where the LORD says:

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty (Mal 3:1, NIV[275]).

In Luke 7:27, Jesus quotes this very passage in reference to John (cf. 2 Ch 15:1, 4).[276]

Malachi’s prophecy said Elijah was to come before the coming of the Lord Himself (Mal 3:1, 4:5-6). As Jesus indicates (cf. Mt 11:14, 18, 17:10; Mk 9:11;[277] cf. Mk 9:13),[278] John the Baptist fulfills this prophecy.[279]

In Matthew 11:14, when describing John, Jesus says, “…he is the Elijah who was to come.” (Mt 11:14b, NIV cf. Mt 17:11-13; esp. Mt 17:13).

God wants to lead his people out of darkness – but they have to be ready to follow.[280] John the Baptist’s role was to prepare people his people to follow the Lord.[281]

Prepare for the Lord: Turn Around (Repent) and Get Ready to Follow

The Way out of Darkness

Imagine being in a group of people who are lost in a forest. The sun goes down and it’s pitch black. Some say, “we should go this way.” Others say, “we should go that way.” And then everyone starts going their own way.

But then someone comes from afar and says, “Hey, come back! Turn around! Someone’s coming to save us!

If people don’t turn around, how can they be saved?

John the Baptist will essentially say, “Someone’s on the way!” (Lk 3:16-17). And, in fact, that Someone is the Way (cf. Jn 14:6). He is the Waymaker, the Light in the Darkness.4

But people can’t follow the One who is the Way out of darkness, unless they turn around, unless they come back, unless they repent.

Repentance is a prerequisite[282] for following Jesus. For we can’t follow Jesus if we’re going our own way (cf. Mk 1:15; Ac 20:21; 11:17-18; 26:20; Heb 6:1).


As we find in Luke 3 (Lk 3:1-19), John the Baptist called the people of Israel to confess their sins, repent from ungodliness, and turn back to God.[283]

Repentance is like a U-Turn – turning from our old way of life to the new way of the Lord.

Sometimes we struggle and it’s more of a K-Turn… But we still change direction. People would then indicate their repentance by being baptized by John.[284]

Always Good News, Not Always Good Responses

Now preaching repentance sounds so negative. But the fact that God gives people a chance to repent is good news (cf. Lk 3:18)!

The fact that creatures can turn back to their Creator is good news. And this is the good news we must preach. In fact, in Luke’s version of the Great Commission, in chapter 24 verses 46 and 47, Jesus says,

“This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Lk 24:46-47, NIV).[285]

But like with John, not all will respond to such preaching.[286] In fact, people will likely get angry with us.

John the Baptist is eventually beheaded (Mk 6:27-28) for calling out the king for his unlawful affair with his brother’s wife (Mk 6:18 cf. Lev 18:16, 20:21).[287]

People love it when we talk about the blessings-of-the-next-life;

people hate it when we talk and start to messing-with-they-sex-life.

According to Scripture, sex ought to be between a husband and a wife. This is not politically correct, but it is biblically correct.

And regardless of what we’ve done in the past, we thank God for the opportunity to clean up in the present.

If You Truly Care, Say Something

Moreover, telling people to turn back to God is loving.

You ever go out and about, talking to people and having a good time… and then you get home and you gotta boogie in your nose? I get mad at people like: why didn’t anybody tell me?

But boogies are no big deal… they have no lasting consequences. Yet, if we truly care about people, we should tell them about the truth of Christ – which has [everlasting]consequences (Jn 3:36, 8:24; Mt 7:13-14; etc.).

Follow Wholeheartedly

Like Elijah, John the Baptist challenged people to make a commitment. As we read in 1 Ki 18:21, when Elijah was on Mount Carmel about to challenge the prophets of Baal, he said,

“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing (1 Ki 18:21, NIV).[288]

You know it’s been said: “Ain’t no such thing as halfway crooks.”5

You can’t be a partial crook. You either steal or you don’t. In the same way, ain’t no such thing as halfway Christians. You can’t be a partial follower. You either follow or you don’t.


Ready for the Presence?

My brothers and sisters, are we ready for Christmas? Are we prepared for the Lord? Are we ready to follow the Way or are we still going our own way?[289]

We may have prepared our homes for company, but have we prepared our hearts for Christ?

Let’s not merely celebrate the presents under the tree, but the Presence of the Lord. Who came and dwelled among us (Jn 1:14).

Rapping Season (Part II)

It’s not about the presents, or crying for Santa

It’s about the LORD’s Presence, and crying Hosanna

Christ came in the flesh, you know the grace-that-it-took

Let’s get off social media, put our face-in-the-book

Let’s preach the gospel until we have-no-more-breath

Though we walk through the valley of the shadow-of-death

Always keep a godly wish-list-in-view

And tell God, “All I want for Christmas-is-You”6

[1] Garland, 71

[2] Bock, 86. Cf. Edwards, 37

[3] “…the opening formula using the word egeneto is found at the beginning of a number of Jewish works (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 2 Samuel, Judith, 1 Maccabees, Jubilees, Joseph and Aseneth).” Pao, 37. “Ἐγένετο … ἡμέραις (egeneto … hēmerais, it came about in those days) is reminiscent of LXX style and ethos (Judg. 13:2; Jdt. 1:1; Tob. 1:2” Bock, 75.

[4] A very Old Testament-esque phrase (E.g., Gen 14:1, 26:1, esp. 1 Ch 4:41). Evans, 37.

[5] Judea here describes the southern region of Palestine. Other times, Luke uses Judea to describe the entire territory of the Jewish nation. This would include Samaria sometimes (here?; UBS, 14), and sometimes not (Lk 4:14, 6:17, 7:17, 23:5; UBS, 14)

[6] Very common name in the OT (e.g., 1 Chron. 15:24; 2 Chron. 35:8; Neh. 11:12); Bock, 76 (FN).

[7] BDAG, 461; EDNT, 158, 159; LN, 115

[8] “The meaning of Elizabeth’s name is disputed. It means either “my God is the one by whom I swear” or “my God is fortune” Bock, 76

[9] He ruled “over Judea, Galilee, Samaria, and a large part of Perea and Syria.” Trites, 33. “The term is used broadly here for the land of the Jews and not in the narrower sense for the Roman province of Judah.” Stein, 73; cf. Bock, 75

[10] UBS, 14; Keener, 179; Evans, 37; Schreiner, 1061; Trites, 33; Morris, 85; Stein, 73; Bock, 75

[11] Bock, 75 cf. UBS, 14.

[12] Evans, 37; Bock, 75

[13] Evans, 37.

[14] Evans, 37; Edwards, 33

[15] Bock, 76

[16] Evans, 37.

[17] Evans U, 27; Trites, 34

[18] Only four divisions came back from exile but were eventually subdivided to make 24 again. Morris, 85

[19] Edwards, 33

[20] Strauss, 326; Pao, 257; Schreiner, 1061; Trites, 34; Stein, 73; Edwards, 33

[21] Keener, 179

[22] Strauss, 326; Schreiner, 1061; Bock, 76; Edwards, 33

[23] Nolland, 26

[24] Keener, 179; Strauss, 326. Cf. No harlots, defiled women, or widows. Evans, 37.

[25] Morris, 85.

[26] Evans, 37.

[27] Keener, 179; Strauss, 326.

[28] Bock, 76

[29] Evans, 37; Evans U, 23.

[30] Bock, 76

[31] Pao, 257; Bock, 76; Edwards, 33

[32] Nolland, 26

[33] “Syntactically it goes with poreuomenoitou kuriou, indicating the result of it: they were observing the commandments and requirements of the Lord in such a way that they were blameless. Several translations render it adverbially (“blamelessly”) which is acceptable only as a second best rendering.” UBS, 19

[34] Bock, 77

[35] UBS, 18, 19

[36] BDAG, 330; EDNT, 449; LN, 799; “both lived righteous lives in God’s sight’ LN, 799.

[37] UBS, 19

[38] Keener, 179.

[39] Edwards, 34

[40] Keener, 179.

[41] Keener, 179.

[42] Edwards, 34; Garland, 65

[43] Also commandments and requirements and walking in Dt 30:16; 1 Ki 2:3; 2 Ki 17:19, 23:3; Evans, 38. Cf. Gen 26:5; 36:13; Dt 4:40 cf. 1 Ki 8:61; Pao, 257.

[44] Keener, 179.

[45] Morris, 85

[46] Stein, 74

[47] Keener, 179; UBS, 18; Bock, 77

[48] Trites, 34

[49] Stein, 73

[50] UBS, 18. “Jesus declared that love of God and neighbor fulfills the law and prophets (10:25–27; Mark 12:28–31) Edwards, 34.

[51] Bock, 77; cf. Edwards, 34

[52] Bock, N; Edwards, 34; cf. Bock, 77

[53] Bock, 77

[54] Could be adversative. However, “To render kai as ‘but’ (cp. RSV) is to comment implicitly on the childlessness of Zechariah and Elizabeth and hence not advisable.” UBS, 21.

[55] Evans, 38.

[56] Schreiner, 1061.

[57] Evans, 38.

[58] 1 Sam 1:2-2:10; UBS, 21; Evans, 38; Strauss, 326; Bock, 78

[59] Schreiner, 1061.

[60] Trites, 34

[61] Morris, 85

[62] Lev 20:20; Jer 22:30; UBS, 21. Keener, 179; Evans, 38.

[63] Keener, 179.

[64] Keener, 179.

[65] Keener, 179; Schreiner, 1061; Bock, 78; Marshall,

[66] Marshall, 53

[67] Keener, 179.

[68] Keener, 179.

[69] Evans, 38; Strauss, 326; Trites, 34; Stein, 74

[70] Keener, 179.

[71] Stein, 74

[72] Evans, 38; Strauss, 326.

[73] Keener, 179.

[74] Evans U, 24; Strauss, 326; Trites, 34; Bock, 78

[75] Keener, 179.

[76] Evans, 38; Stein, 74; Bock, 78

[77] UBS, 21; Keener, 179; Strauss, 326; Bock, 78; Edwards, 34

[78] Stein, 74; Edwards, 34

[79] Evans, 38; Trites, 34

[80] Keener, 179.

[81] Strauss, 326; Stein, 74

[82] UBS, 23; EDNT, 333.

[83] Luke begins and closes his Gospel with a scene in the temple (cf. Lk 24:53 cf. Ac 2:1f; Acts 2-26); Stein, 74; cf. Edwards, 32

[84] UBS, 23.

[85] Keener, 179; Stein, 74; Bock, 79; Marshall, 54

[86] Stein, 73

[87] Edwards, 33

[88] “Each division was further subdivided into orders, and each order served a daily rotation during its week of service at the temple. Each rotation consisted of four to nine priestly houses or families.” Bock, 76

[89] Keener, 179; Schreiner, 1061; Stein, 73; Bock, 76; Edwards, 33

[90] Trites, 34.

[91] Lev Evans, 38.

[92] Found in the Mishnah (m. Tamid 5:2–6:3). Strauss, 326; Bock, 79

[93] Evans, 38.

[94] Josh 18:11, 19:1, 10, 17, 24, 32, 40; Judg 20:9; Neh 11:1; 1 Ch 24:5-18, 25:8, 26:13 cf. Josh 7:14-18; 1 Sam 14:41-42; Pr 18:18; Jn 1:7;Lk 23:34; Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Jn 19:24; Trites, 35

[95] Strauss, 326.

[96] Strauss, 326.

[97] Strauss, 326; Trites, 35; Green, 70

[98] Trites, 35.

[99] Strauss, 326.

[100] “The book of Acts is full of examples where the Spirit of God guided believers in their actions and decisions (see Acts 10:19; 11:12; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6–7).” Trites, 35

[101] Keener, 179; Strauss, 327; Pao, 257; Schreiner, 1061; Wilcock, 33; Trites, 36; Morris, 85; Stein, 74; Garland, 65; Marshall, 54

[102] Morris, 85; Green, 70

[103] Trites, 35; Stein, 74; Green, 70

[104] Morris, 85; cf. Bock, 79

[105] Strauss, 327; Pao, 257; Trites, 36. Evans, 38; Schreiner, 1061; Stein, 74; Edwards, 34.

[106] Keener, 179; Strauss, 326.

[107] UBS, 26; Bock, 79; cf. Edwards, 34

[108] Stein, 74; Edwards, 35

[109] Bock, 79; Cf. Ac 3:1; UBS, 26; Garland, 65

[110] Pao, 257; Schreiner, 1061.

[111] “…perhaps to quench the stench of burning flesh from the sacrifices in the closed buildings.” Keener, 179.

[112] Stein, 74

[113] Keener, 179; Edwards, 35

[114] Marshall, 55

[115] Keener, 179.

[116] Stein, 74

[117] UBS, 24; Strauss, 326.

[118] “Within the sanctuary were placed a golden altar, the menorah (a seven-branched lampstand), various utensils, a table for the bread of the Presence, cups for drink offerings, bowls, golden censers, a curtain, and crowns (cf. 1 Macc. 1:21–22).” Evans, 38. Cf. Strauss, 326; Bock, 79

[119] UBS, 24; Strauss, 326; Pao, 257; Tries, 35; Stein, 74

[120] Schreiner, 1062; Trites, 35; Bock, 79

[121] Keener, 179; Trites, 35

[122] Strauss, 326; Schreiner, 1062; Trites, 35

[123] Strauss, 326; Trites, 35

[124] Keener, 179; Bock, 79; cf. Evans, 38.

[125] Pao, 257.

[126] UBS, 27.

[127] Keener, 179; Trites, 35

[128] Bock, 79

[129] Cf. Lev 16:12-13; 2 Ch 2:4, 13:10-11; Mal 1:11; Trites, 36

[130] Bock, 80; Marshall, 54; cf. Edwards, 35

[131] Often, an “angel of the LORD” is essentially the LORD himself (cf. Gen 16:7, 13). Strauss, 327. Cf. Pao, 257; Stein, 74

[132] The angel would therefore be standing between the altar and the seven-branched lampstand . EDNT, 164; Bock, 80

[133] Keener, 179.

[134] UBS, 27; Marshall, 55. Also, “Zechariah 3:1 reports an Old Testament apparition in the temple. There *Satan appears to the *high priest, standing at his right to accuse him; but the high priest stands before the angel of the Lord, who defends him and brings him a message of peace for his people.” Keener, 179.

[135] Trites, 37; cf. Edwards, 35

[136] Stein, 74; Bock, 80; Marshall, 55

[137] Stein, 74

[138] Edwards, 35

[139] “But against those who argue that Luke created the parallelism, it is to be noted that usually those appearances were to the mothers of the children, not to the fathers. Thus, if Luke had wished to construct a parallel, Elizabeth, not Zechariah, would have been the likely subject of the announcement.” Bock, 81.

[140] Bock, 81

[141] Evans, 38; Pao, 257.

[142] Bock, 81

[143] Evans, 38; Pao, 257.

[144] Strauss, 327.

[145] Pao, 257; Bock, 81

[146] Bock, 81

[147] Evans, 38; Strauss, 327; Trites, 37; Stein, 74; Bock, 80

[148] Evans, 38.

[149] HALOT, 176; GHCLOT, 156

[150] Cf. Luke 24:34; Acts 2:3; 7:2, 30, 35; 9:17; 13:31; 16:9; 26:16.; Stein, 74

[151] UBS, 27.

[152] UBS, 27.

[153] Marshall, 55

[154] NIDNTTE, 455

[155] LN, 314; NIDNTTE, 457; BDAG, 990

[156] Stein, 74; Bock, 81

[157] Strauss, 327.

[158] Pao, 257. Cf. Mt 1:20; Trites, 37

[159] Bock, 82

[160] Strauss, 327.

[161] Also see (Num. 14:9; Deut. 1:20–21; 20:3–4; Josh. 8:1–2; 2 Kings 6:15–19; Isa. 41:10). Pao, 257. Cf. Lk 1:30; 2:10; Trites, 37

[162] Morris, 86

[163] UBS, 30; Wilcock, 33.

[164] Evans U, 27; Stein, 74

[165] Wilcock, 33.

[166] Bock, 82

[167] Marshall, 56

[168] “preferable” if a choice must be made. UBS, 30.

[169] Cf. UBS, 30; cf. Marshall, 53

[170] Morris, 86; Marshall, 53

[171] Schreiner, 1062. We should be wary of either-ors… “Through the divine intervention resulting in the miraculous birth of Isaac, (1) God will keep his covenant with Abraham, (2) Abraham and Sarah will have a son in their old age, and (3) all the nations will be blessed.” Green, 74

[172] Stein, 75

[173] UBS, 30.

[174] Evans U, 27; Bock, 82

[175] Bock N, 50; cf. Garland, 66

[176] Stein, 75; cf. Bock, 82

[177] UBS, 31; Morris, 8; Stein, 75; Edwards, 36

[178] Strauss, 327.

[179] Cf. Strauss, 327.

[180] Cf. Bock N, 50.

[181] Keener, 179; Strauss, 327; Bock, 83; Green, 74

[182] Keener, 179; Strauss, 327; Green, 74

[183] Strauss, 327.

[184] Edwards, 36

[185] Keener, 179; Strauss, 327; Bock, 83; Green, 74

[186] Evans, 39; cf. Strauss, 327.

[187] Paso, 257. “The birth of Isaac fulfilled the long-awaited promise of God to form a new people in the call of Abraham (Gen 12:1–3).” Edwards, 36.

[188] Trites, 37

[189] Bock, 83

[190] Evans, 39; Trites, 37; Stein, 75

[191] Dative of Possession: “and joy and gladness shall be to you (= “joy and gladness shall be yours”)” Wallace, 150.

[192] Morris, 86

[193] Stein, 75

[194] Stein, 75

[195] Bock, 83

[196] From his mother’s womb can mean

[197] Stein, 76; Bock, 84

[198] BDAG, 462; LN, 799; EDNT, 462; UBS, 33.

[199] Bock, 84

[200] Bock, 84

[201] Cf. Edwards, 37

[202] LN, 76-77; Evans, 39; Strauss, 327; Bock, 85

[203] As do UBS, 33; EDNT, 243. “It is not possible to determine whether σ‌. was considered any stronger than wine; the rendering ‘strong drink’ (so in many versions) may therefore be misleading”.  BDAG, 923

[204] LN, 76-77.

[205] LN, 76-77.

[206] Evans, 39; Strauss, 327; Bock, 85

[207] Keener, 179.

[208] Bock, 85. “Complete abstinence from wine and other alcoholic beverages is extraordinary in the biblical world.” Green, 75.

[209] Evans, 39.

[210] Evans, 39.

[211] Evans, 39; Pao, 258; Morris, 86; Marshall, 57

[212] UBS, 33; Evans, 39; Schreiner, 1062; Trites, 37; Morris, 86; Stein, 76; Bock, 84; Edwards, 37

[213] Strauss, 327; Edwards, 37

[214] Strauss, 327.

[215] Keener, 179.

[216] Cf. LXX 1 Sam 1:11; Evans, 39; Trites, 37; Bock, 84

[217] Strauss, 327; Pao, 258; Trites, 37; Stein, 76; Bock, 84

[218] Trites, 38; Edwards, 37

[219] Evans, 39; Strauss, 327 Trites, 37. But maybe not since hair-cutting is not mentioned; Pao, 257; Morris, 86; Stein, 76; Edwards, 37; Marshall, 57. Maybe just an ascetic (Lk 7:25-33); Pao, 257; cf. Stein, 76; Bock, 85

[220] Pao, 258; Bock, 84; Edwards, 37

[221] Morris, 86

[222] UBS, 33.

[223] Can mean from birth (cf. Ps 22:10; Judg 13:7; Is 44:2, 49:1; Gal 1:15); Pao, 257; cf. Is 48:8; 16:17; Stein, 76; Bock, 86

[224] Strauss, 327; Pao, 257; cf. Jer 1:5; Trites, 38; Morris, 86; Stein, 76; Bock, 86; Marshall, 58; Nolland, 31; Green, 75

[225] Strauss, 328.

[226] Bock, 85

[227] Strauss, 328.

[228] Strauss, 328; Bock, 86

[229] Cf. Morris, 86

[230] BDAG, 382.

[231] UBS, 35. ““Bring back” is a technical term for conversion in the NT.” Stein, 76.

[232] Bock, 87

[233] Pao, 258.

[234] NIDNTTE, 388.

[235] Evans, 39; Pao, 258; Bock, 87

[236] A “national back-to-God movement”. Trites, 38

[237] Evans U, 23.

[238] Nolland, 31.

[239] UBS, 36; Stein, 76; Edwards, 38

[240] Cf. Edwards, 38

[241] Keener, 180; Evans, 39; Pao, 258; Bock, 87; Edwards, 38

[242] Evans, 39.

[243] Cf. Nolland, 31

[244] EDNT, 439; Pao, 258; Schreiner, 1062; Trites, 38; Morris, 87; Stein, 77; Garland, 68

[245] Strauss, 328; Garland, 69

[246] “Is this best interpreted as an example of synonymous parallelism in which “disobedient” parallels “fathers” and “righteous” parallels “children,” i.e., fathers are to children as disobedient are to righteous?” Stein, 77. Could be chiastic; Stein, 77. See discussion in Bock, 89-90.

[247] EDNT, 439; UBS, 36; Pao, 258; Stein, 77; Bock, 90; Edwards, 38; Marshall, 60; NOlland, 36

[248] Keener, 180; Evans, 39.

[249] Evans, 39; cf. Marshall, 60; Nolland, 31; Green, 76

[250] Bock N, 54

[251] “Since a first-century Jew had many religious sectarian options, the reference to family division may allude to family members choosing different individual sects. Thus, families would split as sons chose to belong to sects to which their fathers did not belong. John’s mission was to call people back from the other options to the way of God.” Bock, 90

[252] Cf. Bock, 90

[253] Bock, 90

[254] Bock, 90

[255] EDNT, 439.; UBS, 36.

[256] Morris, 87

[257] Cf. Eli, Samuel, and David; Morris, 87

[258] UBS, 36; Stein, 76

[259] Like that of a firstborn son. Keener, 180.

[260] Keener, 180; Strauss, 328; Stein, 76

[261] Keener, 180.

[262] Bock, 88

[263] Stein, 76

[264] Strauss, 328; Bock, 88

[265] Strauss, 328.

[266] Green, 77

[267] NIDNTTE, 616; BDAG, 1066; EDNT, 439.

[268] NIDNTTE, 616; BDAG, 1066.

[269] Morris, 87; cf. Bock, N, 54

[270] Morris, 87

[271] BDAG, 400; Evans, 39; Pao, 258; Bock, 90

[272] Pao, 258; Bock, 90

[273] NIDNTTE, 305; Pao, 258; Trites, 38; Stein, 76

[274] NIDNTTE, 644; Evans, 39; Strauss, 328; Schreiner, 1062; Morris, 87; Edwards, 38

[275] NIDNTTE, 644; Pao, 258.

[276] Bock, 84, 87

[277] NIDNTTE, 285.

[278] Morris, 87.

[279] Schreiner, 1062.

[280] Cf. Bock N, 49.

[281] Cf. ready not just for reception, but for action. Garland, 68

[282] Cf. “Repentance, the turning of a heart to be open to him, is the door through which grace is offered and faith planted.” Bock N, 52. “John’s purpose, then, is to go before the Lord readying a people prepared for the Lord’s coming. He accomplishes this by effecting repentance.” Green, 78

[283] Trites, 38; Bock, 87

[284] Trites, 38

[285] Bock, 87

[286] Bock N, 54

[287] Keener, 143.

[288] Trites, 38.

[289] Cf. Bock N, 51


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  • Balz, Horst Robert, and Gerhard Schneider. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–. [EDNT]
  • Bock, Darrell L. Luke: 1:1–9:50. Vol. 1. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1994.
  • Bock, Darrell L. Luke. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996. [Bock, N]
  • Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Luke. Edited by D. A. Carson. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos, 2015.
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  • Evans, Craig A. Luke. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1990. [Evans U]
  • Garland, David E. Luke. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: . Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
  • Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.
  • Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Second Edition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2014.
  • Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996. [LN]
  • Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978.
  • Morris, Leon. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 3. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988.
  • Nolland, John. Luke 1:1–9:20. Vol. 35A. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1989.
  • Pao, David W., and Eckhard J. Schnabel. “Luke.” In Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 251–403. Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos, 2007.
  • Reiling, J., and J. L. Swellengrebel. A Handbook on the Gospel of Luke. UBS Handbook Series. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. [UBS]
  • Schreiner, Thomas. “Luke.” In Burge, Gary M., and Andrew E. Hill, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012.
  • Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014. [NIDNTTE]
  • Strauss, Mark in Arnold, Clinton E. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.
  • Stein, Robert H. Luke. Vol. 24. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992.
  • Trites, Allison A., William J. Larkin. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 12: The Gospel of Luke and Acts. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2006.
  • Wallace, Daniel B. Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.
  • Wilcock, Michael. The Savior of the World: The Message of Luke’s Gospel. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979.


  2. an allusion to the Temptations “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
  3. an allusion to Al Green’s “Love and Happiness.”
  4. an allusion to the contemporary Christian song, “Way Maker”
  5. an allusion to Mobb Deep’s 90’s classic, “Shook Ones”. Several people approached me about this reference after the sermon lol
  6. an allusion to Mariah Carey’s, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”
About @DannyScottonJr 238 Articles
Imperfect Servant ✝📖⛪ | Husband | Princeton U. Alum | M. Div. | Assistant (to the) Pastor | Sound Doctrine & Apologetics @catchforchrist