Birth Announcements

I.  The Birth of John the Baptist Announced

            A.  John’s Parents

                        1.  Zechariah the priest (name means “Yahweh has remembered”)

                        2.  Elizabeth of the house of Aaron (name means “My God is an Oath”)

                        3.  Both parents from a priestly line—not a common thing to happen

            B.  Herod

                        1.  John’s righteous parents set in history against the background of a

     tyrannical ruler

                        2.  Herod the Great had been given an army by Rome to conquer as much

     as he chose to rule

            C.  Zechariah in the Temple

                        1.  Lighting the incense

                                    a.  The altar of incense was one of the pieces of furniture in the

     Holy Place of the temple

                                    b.  The Incense was lit 2x per day so that it would perpetually burn

     as a sign of the prayers of God’s people perpetually before him

2.  The prayers of the priests were ones connected with the coming

     Messiah (angel pronounces his prayers answered in Luke 1:13)

                        3.  This privilege was drawn by lot and was a once in a lifetime privilege,

     and many never got to do it—note God’s hand at work in the timing

            D.  Zechariah’s response

                        1.  Zechariah responds in doubt, his tongue mis-speaks and thus, his

     tongue is silenced

                        2.  In contrast, Mary will pose a question, but it is a question asked in

     faith, thus, she is not rebuked

            E.  Restrictions on John

                        1.  John will be forbidden to drink wine or strong drink from birth

                        2.  This is likely a Nazarite vow that is given to him (note Samuel’s

     Dedication in 1 Samuel 1:11)

                                    a.  under such a vow they could not

                                                i.  drink wine and alcohol (could not even eat grapes)

                                                ii.  cut their hair

                                                iii.  be near a dead body

                                    b.  see Numbers 6:1-10

            F.  Both John and Jesus given names

                        1.  John means “Yahweh has been gracious”

                        2.  Jesus means “Salvation” or “he will save his people from their sins”

                                    -Jesus comes from the name Joshua

 

II.  Birth of Jesus announced

A.  Note that Zechariah and Elizabeth are both in the line of Aaron and Joseph

      and Mary are in the line of Judah

            B.  The Greeting to Mary

                        1.  “Greetings O Favored One”

                        2.  Note this is an emphasis on her being favored because of what God is

     doing in her, not because of who she is.

                        3.  She responds in shock at such a greeting given her lowly status

                        4.  Though is befuddled, she responds in faith (see 1:45)

            C.  Title given to Jesus is “Son of the Most High”

                        1.  This is the Greek word u¢yistoß (hupsistos), which when used

      substantivally (as a noun) always refers to God himself

                        2.  This Greek word is used to translate the Hebrew word !Ayl.[, (elyon)

     which also is used in the Old Testament to refer to God

            -Elyon means “God most High”

3.  This is the name of God attributed to Jesus’ sonship—a clear statement

      that Jesus is the Son of the covenant God of Israel (Amy Grant song,

      “El Shaddai”—which means “God Almighty”)

            D.  Mary’s Song

                        1.  Called the “Magnificat” meaning “the praises” from Latin

                        2.  See 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and compare Mary’s Song with Hannah’s prayer

            E.  Note the 2 names given to Jesus in Matthew’s account

                        1.  Jesus-“for he will save his people from their sins”

                        2.  Immanuel-“God with us”

 

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