Numbers 19:1-20:29 ~ Luke 1:1-25 ~ Psalm 56:1-13 ~ Proverbs 11:8
Today is the 13th day of March. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it’s great to be here with you. So we crossed the threshold of a new week yesterday and now it is time to live into that week as we walk with God. One of the ways we do that is to orient ourselves and our hearts to him through his word and just allow the serenity to wash over us. To step away, to have this little space, this little global campfire, this little space that we have where it is peaceful and all the obligations that are out in front of us this week, they can be put aside for this brief period of time as we feed our souls.
This week we’re reading from the Expanded Bible and we’ll move back out with the children of Israel into the wilderness and then when we get to the New Testament we will begin a new book. But first, Numbers chapter 19, verse 1 through 20, verse 29.
Introduction of a New Book (New Testament)
We finished the book or gospel of Mark yesterday which is the second of the gospels in the Bible, which brings us to the book of Luke. The gospel of Luke has a little more of an intriguing story regarding its place in history. Luke is the third of what is known as the synoptic gospels – those being Matthew, Mark and Luke – and they are called the synoptic gospels because they are very similar in their composition, very similar in the way they are laid out and the stories that they tell about Jesus, so similar in fact that it is widely believed among biblical scholars that one could not exist without the other, that they were written at different times, but they were used as source material for each other.
I personally like the book of Luke a lot because I believe it is written tight and concise and it flows well and contains all of the known details of the time. Scholarly opinion is that Luke not only wrote the book of Luke, but he also wrote the book of Acts. There are, however, some differing points of view as to when this book was actually written. A number of leading scholars believe that the gospel of Mark was the first of the synoptic gospels. In fact, most scholars believe that. And then Matthew and Luke borrowed some of the source material as they were writing the history of the gospel of Jesus Christ from Mark.
There is a scholarly trend right now that refers to a lost source text that is being called Q. It wasn’t a narrative like the gospels that we have in the Bible on the life of Jesus, but was probably a collection of all the sayings of Jesus that anyone who actually heard them could remember. This supposed text is believed to have provided more of the source material for all of the synoptic gospels and that this explains some of the harmony between them. Unfortunately, there is no way to know this for certain. We don’t have the text although the arguments for its existence are legitimate and very compelling.
Because of all this, placing the gospel of Luke in history is one of the things that is up for debate. Luke as well as Acts were written to a man named Theophilus. One school of thought is that Luke was written somewhere after AD 70. Part of this comes because of Jesus’ quote in Luke about the destruction of the temple. Luke is a little more detailed than any of the other synoptic gospels and some conclude that Luke may have had knowledge of this. The more compelling reason for a later dating is the tightness of the manuscript. It reads as if some time has passed, some theology and tradition has been set forth and order for the early accounts of Christ’s life have been accepted and ratified.
On the flip side of that, there are scholars that date Luke between AD 37 and AD 70 because there was a high priest in Israel between AD 37 and the early 40s named Theophilus. If this is true, Luke was written between four and eight years after the crucifixion of Jesus and would make it one of the earliest Christian manuscripts that we have. Either way, Luke was inspired by the Spirit of the living God and it was written to a Gentile audience in that it shows the gospel of Jesus is inclusive and not only a Jewish religion. It includes the whole world and welcomes all who call upon the name of the Lord into the family. So with that, we begin the book of Luke, chapter 1, verses 1 through 25.
As we begin the book of Luke today, it’s an interesting story, the story of the coming of John the Baptist and John’s father, who was a priest named Zechariah, and Zechariah is to burn incense before the Lord in the temple, which he does. His group or his division is on duty to serve in the temple and this is an honor that he has received by lot and he takes the fire pans in before the Lord to burn the incense before the Lord when he encounters the angel.
The angel tells him he is going to have a son in his old age and that he will be a prophetic voice. Echoes of the promise to Abraham and Sarah and the prophesy or the words that the angel speaks to Zechariah is that this child will turn the hearts of the children back to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers back to the children. This is a prophesy found in the book of Malachi. In fact, for practicing Jewish people at the time of Zechariah, when this is happening, these are the last words of the Bible. So it’s not like a priest like Zechariah doesn’t understand what is being said. It is what is being said is too big for him to comprehend. What is being said is that there is a new prophetic voice to pick up the story where it was left off four centuries before, echoes of the time the children of Israel spent in slavery in Egypt and a new freedom is coming to people who have enslaved themselves by rejecting God.
So it is a big deal what is being said here and all of this is not lost on Zechariah. He is a priest. He studies the Torah. He understands this. He knows the words of the prophets. His response is interesting. “How can I be sure this is going to happen?” is what he tells the angel, as if he has not been given signs enough. He is A: Standing in the presence of God burning incense when an angel appears to give him words about the future. And B: All of the things that would go into that, the fact that he is elderly and his wife is barren, the fact that the prophesy is so big that it is maybe too big for him to be involved with at all. Echoes of our own lives.
Very soon as we move forward in the gospel of Luke we will see that this same angel has another visit and this visit will be to a peasant girl up in the Galilee area named Miriam. We know her as Mary. And her response to the angel’s overwhelming story about a child that she will have that will be the son of God, a bigger prophesy, a more encompassing comprehensive prophesy given to a peasant girl will be received radically different than a prophesy to a very educated and mature priest of the highest God. Let’s watch the juxtaposition of their responses and look for our own hearts in them.
Father, we invite you into that as we move forward. How is it that we respond when you speak? How is it that we react when you call? Is it always too big for us? Have we put a ceiling on what we can do or what we can be involved in in your service? Come Holy Spirit, we pray in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Hey everybody. This is Pelham M. from Birmingham. I used to say from Cullman. Now it’s Birmingham. It’s been Birmingham for a while. You can tell I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep because I’ve got a 10-week-old at home that God blessed us with. I was calling because the Holy Spirit was tugging at me like he does. “Time to call.” “It’s time to call.” Max, your call, if you’re out there, Max, that was what really pushed me to where it was time to call. Actually, it was Hebrews13@proton.com. I forgot your name, but it starts with an M, your call is what prompted me to call about his call. That is how the network happens. Man, the depression. I faced it. I faced it with substance abuse and it’s because you’re a powerful soldier in God’s army and there is something trying to take you out of the game. When you can see through that smoke and see through that noise and just connect with God, put your eyes on him. And if you feel like you can’t do that, just connect with someone that is connecting with God and you’re going to make it through this, man. There are people all over the world praying for you. Here I am at the pizza truck in Birmingham, AL thinking about you and what you’re going through and it was time for me to call anyway. Molly is doing great. The baby is doing great. The pizza truck is doing great. Life is different when you have a baby. It changes all the focus. Pretty exciting stuff. I think I’m about to run out of time. I just wanted to call and touch base. Blind Tony, where are you. Hadn’t heard from you. Have a great day everyone.
Hello. This is the Greatest Trucker from Way out West. I’m coming to my Daily Audio Bible family with a prayer request that is more for my brother-in-law Steve J. He is back there in Missouri and he has pneumonia. He’s suffering with it pretty bad. He’s in the ICU. My sister texted me that he had to have a CT scan that showed blood clots in his lungs and pneumonia. They started him on blood thinners and he’s getting breathing treatments and he’s very weak. He’ll get real food today and more antibiotics and one __________ of oxygen before he goes home and he might have to be on it for a while, so would like for this family to pray for Steve J. back there in Missouri, as they call it Missoura back there. The __________ prayers of this family are extremely powerful. We’ve seen that many, many times. I love you all and I pray for your prayer requests and I’m asking you to pray for this one for me today. In Jesus’ precious name, for the healing of Steve J. in Missouri. Thank you.
Hi DAB family. This is Janine from Virginia. I just want to thank you, Brian and Jill, for the lifechanging ministry of DAB. I don’t even want to think about a day without listening to Brian share God’s word. His commentary, insight into that day’s scripture reading is just amazing. It gives me so much to ponder and pray about. DAB family, my heart…I just love you all so much. I have so many thanks to give. Thank you Jeanie F., my sister who is such a treasure, who never gives up on me. So many people to thank for your prayers for me, for my brother and my mother. A shout-out to my sister Jeanie F. from Chatham, VA, for her steadfast friendship, prayers and encouragement. Just can’t thank you enough, Jeanie. Thank you Abbie from Washington State, and Katheryn from Maryland for your prayer. It touched my heart so much. Thank you for your kindness and love. And Mason, thank you for your prayer for me. DAB is Jesus with skin on. Your example of being a godly man is priceless to me. Christine from Northern Virginia, your words profoundly touched me. Thank you, dear, for reaching out with truth from God’s word. I will be in touch with you. Pastor Gene, I glean so much from your messages. Blind Tony, thank you for your poetry. It is always wonderful. Thank you, brother. Lisa the Encourager, I appreciate your words, your encouragement is always encouraging. And Candace from Oregon, beautiful songs. Keep sharing.
Good morning Daily Audio Bible family. This is Debbie in Des Moines, driving on my way to work. I got car noise here. It’s been really strong in my heart to share how God sustained me years ago during a really difficult time, so here it goes. My husband left me with four children. The place I was living in with my daughter was burnt down to the ground. I lost my dog during that same month that all of this happened. They got rid of my position. But wouldn’t you know…and I didn’t have renter’s insurance because when you’re poor you don’t think of renter’s insurance. Wouldn’t you know that the person who came from Red Cross was from my church. Not only that, she also oversaw low income housing, so we immediately, we never had to go to a shelter or anything. She immediately took us and put us into housing. I’ve never been on government assistance before and I had to do that. So I went in and wouldn’t you know the case worker was a lady from my church that I had never met before. Don’t worry about your finances. Don’t worry when you feel the enemy has taken everything from you because it is a cleansing. Think of it as a cleansing. There is nothing that we need on earth. God sustains us through everything. So don’t worry about finances. Don’t worry about what you’re going to eat, where you’re going to live. Worry about nothing. God will sustain you. He sustained me in miraculous ways and continues to do so. So please, don’t worry. God loves you and he shows that every day. Bye guys.
Hi DAB family. This is Michelle, military wife from Virginia. I’ve called over the last couple of years, but I haven’t called in in a long time and I just want to tell you how inspiring it is to hear the praise reports and the prayer requests coming in. I called in a few years ago regarding our son who has Asperger’s and he has dealt with legal issues and also just tremendous amount of demonic oppression and we have been standing in the gap for him for years for total deliverance. I had asked that you guys please cover our son. He’s had some breakthrough and it still continues to be a fight for his life. Any prayers that our beautiful Lord and Savior gives, the Heavenly Father through the power of the Spirit are greatly appreciated. Love you guys so much. Thank you for everything. Alright, have a great day, DAB family. Bye.
Hi. I just wanted to thank Stephanie from North Carolina for calling in. I don’t usually listen to the prayer requests. I usually just listen to the Bible reading. I haven’t really related to a lot of Christians mostly because I feel like the weird one. I see things sometimes when I pray. I feel like God shows me things and most of the people that I have been around have rejected that and kind of think that is not from God. I believed, you know, praying in tongues and that’s not been popular either, but I have just stepped away from church and kind of been on my own little island searching for God and I felt really alone because I feel like God shows me things. I couldn’t get to my phone fast enough to turn it off when it got to the prayer requests and when I heard Stephanie’s call come in, it made me realize I’m not so alone after all. So Stephanie, thank you for calling in. I know you said it was hard for you to call in and as hard as that was, it is just as hard for me to call in because I don’t like things like this either, but I just wanted to call and say thank you. Bless you. Bye-bye.