This December I want to challenge every member and friend of Haymarket Baptist Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus by beginning to read the Gospel of Luke. I will be preaching sermons based on the first two chapters of Luke’s gospel, and if you read the stories on your own you will be better prepared to appreciate all that God did to bless us by sending his son to be born to Mary and Joseph. The Advent worship services will be more meaningful if you read the gospel story first!
Here is the schedule I plan to follow through the end of December:
Nov. 28 Luke Writes a Gospel Luke 1:1-4
Dec. 5 Why Send John the Baptist First? Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Dec. 12 Choir Cantata
Dec. 19 Mary Did You Know? Luke 1:26-56
Dec. 24 What an Entrance! Luke 2:1-21
Dec. 26 How Could Parents Lose a 12-Year-Old? Luke 2:41-52
Luke was the only gospel writer to tell us much about the way he went about writing his biography of Jesus. He was not an eyewitness, so he had to seek out some of the twelve apostles, Mary the mother of Jesus, and other early followers of Jesus who could tell him what Jesus really did and said. He heard the stories about Jesus’ calling of the twelve, about the conflicts Jesus had with the Pharisees, the miracles Jesus performed, and he was told many of the parables by people who heard the stories directly from Jesus’ lips. New Testament scholars virtually all agree that Luke also got to read Mark’s gospel before he wrote his own gospel. So perhaps Mark is the one who gave him the idea to write another biography of Jesus. Thankfully, Luke worked hard to talk to many others who had heard Jesus, and he incorporated far more biographical material than did Mark.
Without Luke’s research we would not know the Parable of the Forgiving Father, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, or story of the angels appearing to announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, or the story of Jesus calling Zacchaeus to come down out of the tree and invite Jesus to lunch! This year during Advent, let the stories of this fine biographer call you back to a close examination of Jesus’ birth. Let Luke draw you close to Jesus!
In Christ, Pastor Mark