From Luke to Theophilus:
Many have undertaken to record this wondrous story,
Events delivered by those eyewitnesses of glory,
Ministers of the Word.
It seemed good that I also should endeavor, to write an ordered account, in which you have been instructed, my dear friend Theophilus.
Luke Chapter 1
In the era of Herod’s reign,
In the ancient land of Judaea,
Dwelt a venerable priest named Zacharias. His companion in life was Elisabeth, a woman adorned with the beauty of grace. A steadfast dedication to God illuminated their days as they tread the paths of righteousness with unwavering care, their hearts ablaze with devotion.
Still, they had no children of their own, and the years were slowly taking their toll. As the sacred flames of incense formed and dimmed with Zacharias’ priestly touch, the emptiness weighed upon their hearts.
An angel appeared at his altar, and great fear fell upon him. And the angel spoke:
“Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear a son, and thou shalt call him John.”
“And in him shall joy abound, many will rejoice when this child is found. Great shall he be in the Lord’s sight.
He will turn souls to the Lord, preparing the way for heaven. In spirit and power, he shall precede, readying people for the Messiah.”
In a state of disbelief, Zacharias implored, “How can this be, for my wife is aged and advanced in years?”
“I am Gabriel,” the angel did attest, “I stand in the presence of God; a child shall come. Be at peace, release your fears.”
Speechless, Zacharias emerged from the temple, his departure delayed, and the people discerned that he had encountered a divine vision. He embraced them, but remained silent, unable to convey the sacred encounter he had just experienced.
No, unable to speak.
And it came to pass, when his temple service days were done,
Zacharias departed unto his own home.
And soon his wife Elizabeth conceived, a boy, John.
And then she hid herself for five months.
Her time alone had attuned her to godly purpose, her soul grown in the quiet fertility of obscurity.
And in the sixth month,
In Nazareth appeared the angel Gabriel, bearing news from heaven. Before Mary, a virgin betrothed to Joseph, he spoke, “You are favored, Mary, blessed by the Lord.”
Mary worried at his words, but Gabriel calmed her fears. “You shall bear a son called Jesus. He will reign forever, the Son of the Most High.”
“How can this be?” asked Mary with surprise, “For I am untouched by any man,” she voiced her cries. Gabriel, with reassurance in his tone, replied, “The Spirit will come upon you.”
Mary bowed. “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be as you say.” Then Gabriel departed.
Quickly Mary journeyed to see Elizabeth, who conceived by miracle in old age.
At Mary’s voice, Elizabeth’s child leaped in joy. Filled with the Spirit, Elizabeth proclaimed, “Blessed are you, Mary! How am I so honored by the presence of my Lord’s mother?”
Mary rejoiced, though a humble girl. “The Mighty One has done great things! All are blessed, for His mercy and grace cometh to reign.”
Three months Mary stayed, then returned home. When Elizabeth’s time came, she bore a son. Her neighbors celebrated with her.
And on the eighth day,
As was the custom,
They gathered to name the child Zachariah. But Elisabeth, with unwavering conviction, declared,
“He shall be called John.”
Though this name bore no heritage within their family.
And the family made signs to his father Zacharias (who still couldn’t speak), how he would have him called.
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marveled all.
What destiny awaited this blessed boy named John? Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit’s sacred fire and his voice returned and he blessed his son with fervor and love:
“And you, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, preparing the way before the Lord’s face, granting knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of sins. For the tender mercy of God has visited us, daybreak’s light from darkness, To illuminate those sitting in pain and shadowed by death, guiding our feet into the way of peace.”
Thus John grew, strong in spirit, in the dessert until the day he was revealed to Israel arrived at last. The time of promises fulfilled was now at hand.