Category Archives: Gospels

I am Gabriel

     And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God and was sent to speak…” — Luke 1:19 NKJV

gladiator.jpgAs I read those words I felt like I was in the presence of authority. Gabriel knew who he was and where he stood. It reminded me of a scene from the Hollywood movie, Gladiator. The main character, Maximus is asked by the emperor after winning a battle in the arena, “Do you have a name?” His response:

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

Here is a man that does not struggle with who he is or what his mission is. The same could be said of Gabriel, although his mission was not so bleak. But where does this identity come from and more directly why does that matter to us?

When Moses questioned God in Exodus 3:13-14, God responded “I AM WHO I AM… you shall say…I AM has sent me”. And now, hundreds of years later Zacharias questions Gabriel. Gabriel knows who he is – “I am Gabriel”, but the messenger does not stop, satisfied that the mere declaration of his name brings understanding or context to the situation. No, he continues, “…who stands in the presence of God and was sent to speak”.

Later in the same chapter one of Luke, Mary finds her purpose from her Creator and declares:

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
vs. 47-48 NKJV

We must find our identity in Christ. Moses was able to lead the captives free because he knew who he was in context of “I AM”. Gabriel spoke with authority because he knew who he was in context of “I AM”. Mary faced possible abandonment from her fiance, but rejoiced knowing who she was in context of “I AM”.

I cannot be defined by my environment as our factious Maximus was. Defining myself based on my race or people group, my church or denomination, my salary or job, my house or neighborhood, my anything-other-than my Creator is flawed. It is in Him that I find my purpose. When I know who I am based on who He is, I can push forward, and I can do so with authority.

As I embark on this trip through the Bible, I look for understanding, I look for purpose, and I look for identity.  As you read “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, find youself as God see you.  The next time you start a sentence with “I am”, pay attention to what follows.  Are you speaking with the authority that only comes from the Creator?  An angel may never wake you up at night to declare your purpose, but God Himself as made Himself known to us thourgh this Book – After all, He is I AM!

The Beginning of the Gospels

John 1:1-14

Why does John start his Gospel the way he does? He is writing to Greeks and desires to show Jesus as the eternal God so he begins with a theological introduction that shows just that…

By using the term Word for Jesus John is declaring him to be the embodiment of God’s revelation. It is a term his audience would be familiar with as many philosophers used it as “The Greek term translated “word” was also used by many philosophers to mean “reason,” the force which structured the universe” (Bible Background Commentary)

Matt 1

The Genealogy of Matthew was not complete, it is written in three sets of 14 generations, but generations are skipped in order to be concise. Interestingly I probably would have skipped some of the people listed, the more scandalous births like Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Tamar’s story from Gen 38 is very much like a modern Jerry Springer show.

Wow, I realized that Joseph didn’t have sex with Mary until after the birth of Jesus but he “took her home as his wife” The Bible doesn’t say how much time was left in their betrothal, a time where the couple was more than engaged but less than married as they didn’t live or sleep together, but he cut it short and lived with her, talk about self control. We today Christians can’t even keep their pants on in the car, let alone while living with your wife.

Luke 2:1-28

V1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

  • I heard from the Chair of Religion at UNC chapel hill that there is no historical record outside of the Bible to support that this census happened. I am looking into it currently

John 1:15

According to the Bible Exposition commentary Pharisees were baptizing Gentiles that wanted to adopt the Jewish faith. John however was baptizing Jews. We understand he was baptizing them to repentance, much like many churches baptize people who have walked away from their faith and then return. But the Pharisees were investigating John as the custodians of the faith and were making sure there wasn’t a false teacher leading people astray, they were actually doing, at least part, of their duty.

The Adventure Begins…

We are beginning our journey through the Bible this week we have decided to do it chronologically the chart we are using can be found here. We are starting on their day 75. (Thanks to Black Hawk church) If you would like to add anything to the conversation please do.

Matthew Mark Luke John
Author Jewish Christian formally a tax collector Jewish Christian; Cousin of Barnabas Gentile Christian Doctor Jewish Christian and Jesus’ Youngest Disciple
Audience Jews Romans Gentiles Greeks
Portrait of Jesus Jewish Messiah and King Faithful Servant Perfect Man God
Genealogy Traced to Abraham and David, showing Jesus as the
fulfillment of OT Prophecy
No Genealogy, sine Jesus’ accomplishments and not his
family are what is important
Traced to Adam to show that Jesus was fully human Jesus as the eternal word of God.
Notable Features Roughly 60% is Jesus’ words from his teaching as a rabbi;
about 50 OT quotes
Briefest Gospel; few OT quotes; explains Jewish words and
customs for non-Jews;

150 present tense verbs emphasizing Jesus’ actions; 35
miracles, 40% is Jesus’ words

Roughly 50% of the book is Jesus’ word;

Thirteen women are mentioned that are omitted from the
other gospels;

Jewish Customs explained;

Focus on Jesus early years and emotional life

Roughly 90% is unique to John; no parables or exorcism;
seven “I AM” statements to prove Jesus was God.

I wanted to start with a comparison of the Gospels because I believe it is useful in understanding why they wrote the way they did, particularly in seeing who they were writing to, notice that Mark and Luke took the time to explain the Jewish traditions to their Gentile audiences.

Luke 1

Perhaps just a foolish question but I never thought about the fact that John the Baptists father was a priest, do you think he was ever embarrassed by his son who ignored his heritage and not only didn’t be come a priest but a “lunatic” raving out in the desert. I am sure, if he became a believer, he would have realized that John had a greater calling, which Malachi spoke of, but I think it may have caused some friction in the house.

V8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

  • While Zechariah was inside at the altar of incense, a crowd gathered to pray. The incense for which Zechariah was responsible symbolized the prayers of the entire nation. At that particular moment Zechariah was thus the focal point of the entire Jewish nation—Bible Knowledge Commentary

17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

  • I have heard this verse preached from Mal 4:5-6 about a youth group but God already fulfilled this prophesy in John. This looks like another example of not applying the Bible in the way God intended it to be applied but using it to our own advantage.

It is very interesting to look at the contrasts between Gabriel’s announcements to Zachariah and Mary, the aged priest doubted but the young girl had faith enough to say “”I am the Lord’s servant may it be to me as you have said.” Even though she had to realize the trouble it may have caused Joseph and her family she realized that God’s will was more important than her own desires.

V59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

  • Zach must have written the vision down to Elizabeth because she knew his name was to be John before Zach was able to speak.

Zachariah seemed to make the connection to Mal 3 based on his song.