Luke 1:57-66: The Hand of the Lord
June 4, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Now it is Elizabeth’s turn to give birth. Her neighbors hear of the extraordinary birth—to one so old (Luke 1:18)—and they rejoice with her (1:58). Note when someone else has great mercy shown to them, some extraordinary blessing or other, our response is to be joy for them and with them. It is all too easy to rejoice when others do less well than you, and to feel worse when they do better than you. But a sign of Christian maturity is to be able to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn—and not vice versa.
She says that the child’s name is to be John. Zechariah, when asked, writes (because he still cannot speak) that the child’s name is John. He does not say that he is to be called John but simply that his name is John, for that is the name the angel had already told him that the child should be called (1:13). And so writing, Zechariah is once again able to speak. Having testified to his faith in God’s provision, then God opens his mouth again and enables him to speak at once.
And what are the first words out of his lips? Praise! He was “blessing God” (1:63). When we have been through some trauma or difficulty, whether through our own fault or not, it is well to immediately give praise to God when restored. A godly man or woman will be found thanking God for his rescue from sickness or trouble, just as much as he may be found asking for God’s help to be rescued. Let us not only call on the name of the Lord when in trouble but also remember to thank him when we have been rescued.
The response of the neighborhood is “fear” (1:65). So it often is when God is powerfully at work (Acts 2:43; Acts 5:13). Joy is a mark of God’s work too, but not the sort of superficial, petty, short-lived, giddy, temporary enthusiasm that is what the world means by joy. This joy is a fearful joy, an awesome rejoicing, a trembling thrill of wonder.
What is more, they think about it. That too is a sign of God’s work. “All who heard them laid them up in their hearts” (1:66). God’s people, when God is at work among them, always become hearers of God’s Word, searchers into the truth, listeners, readers, and yes thinkers. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and also mind. Christianity is not a mindless religion like the cults; we do not run from truth or flee from science. We are the faith that seeks understanding and worships the God who is the way, the truth, and the life as well.
In particular, they were asking what sort of child this would turn out to be (1:66). They noticed that “the hand of the Lord was with him.” What is most important in selecting someone for a ministry area of service, or a significant role, is not just that they have natural gifts, brain power, smooth talking, charisma; what is most important is they are a man or woman of God, that the hand of the Lord is with them. This is what we are to seek too. Would you ask this morning that God be your God, that you worship him as God, and that his hand be with you to lead, guide, and equip you for works of service which he has prepared for you to walk in today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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