Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”
21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 3
0 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 3
8 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered.
64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65
And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?”
For the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
How will we bring the first sentence of Luke's Gospel of Jesus Christ to us through the sweep of time?
I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth--to every nation, tribe, language and people.
We know Jesus followers called Christians in the Book of Acts were persecuted in Rome within 16 years of Jesus being crucified and Resurrected. We know the Temple persecuted the followers as soon as multitudes when home and only daily thousands remained, making the letters of the Rabbis' showing outrage for the continued daily miracles in the Name of Jesus.
Josephus tells us multitudes would be around 1.5 million to 2 million believers that Jesus has come to life.
So what are these narratives that Luke speaks of?
I have read many authors claiming to be Lost Books of the Bible and suddenly Jesus does something so un-Jesus like you know that this is fable.
Yet, if you go back and you look at the Church Histories of the early 1st Century to the beginning of the 2nd, you find cohesion on 27 books of the New Testament. These are the Proclaimed Good News of the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church in Alexandria, home to the world's most famous library is the rare Church outside accepting more than the 27 books. The message of Jesus Christ standings strong.
In fact, the first article coordinating this is the Didache Greek: Διδαχή) or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the mid to late first century. The first line of this treatise is "Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the Twelve Apostles".
The text has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization. It is considered the first example of the genre of the Church Orders.
The Didache is second-generation Christian writings and compiles what the Church should believe, following most closely (because Jews converting to Christianity happened the most at first) from the Gospel of Matthew.
Like today, the news and events of the First Century world - seemed uncertain.
People were especially looking for a belief system with solace and direction for "bad events" happening around them. Death and trouble could erupt at any time.
Never before was God the Father shown to be a Father ~ civilized, kind, and a gentle way of looking at the world. God our Father offered a promise of salvation and forgiveness. Father God, who could be found, one who would run to His Child. Not one that had to be appeased or sacrificed to. No other religion or belief system has offered this type of special support for beliefs or personal salvation.
Jesus Christ was readily accepted by many wherever His mercy was taught. Letters tell of the miracles resulting in belief. Changing lives and the world.
Paul and the Twelve Apostles traveled extensively establishing Jesus Christ in major cities throughout the Empire. The first Christian communities outside of Jerusalem appeared in Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and the political center of Rome. The original Church communities were founded by apostles and numerous other Christians, soldiers, merchants, and preachers in northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, Greece, and other places.
Paul was responsible for bringing the Christianity to Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, and Thessalonica. By the end of the 1st century, Christianity had already spread to Rome and Greece, Asia Minor and Syria. Major cities such as Rome, Ephesus, Antioch and Corinth served as foundations for the expansive spread of Christianity in the post-apostolic period. Due to its Love shown in civilized, kind, and gentle ways, Christianity spread very quickly throughout Asia Minor.
Thesseloniki Church of David - House Church - 4th Century A.D.
We know from John's Gospel Chapter 16, Jesus came to this life with Joy. We wonder if Jesus laughed. There is no question. Joy is filled with only Joy and Love.
God still sees this troubled planet as His Creation - good - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
We look with anticipation ~ Christmas Lights! Believing the Light in all of mankind is Shining.
We are welcoming Christmas! The same as Jesus, welcoming His time with us as Grace upon Grace. The Light shines in the darkness and the Light is not overcome.
Father God, Our Father,
By You all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by You and for You.
What are we, that you are mindful of us, mankind for millenniums that you care for us?
You made Jesus and made Him a little lower than the angels; You crowned Jesus with glory and honor
and put everything under His feet. Now crowned with glory and honor because Jesus suffered death, and in His Grace, Jesus might taste death for everyone.
Jesus brings many sons to glory. For Jesus is come to our Father's glory with His angels, and He will reward each person according to what he has done.
Jesus Christ will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
We will see with our own eyes, God's right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him. the city of the living God.
We will have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly. Each of the four living creatures with six wings and covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE Lord GOD ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS, AND IS, AND IS TO COME."
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
We will proclaim the eternal gospel to those who live on the earth--to every nation, tribe, language and people.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”
Father God, help us to do the Good Works You have prepared us to walk in. For the ones we Love and the People You have given us. For our Churches, places of work, our states and Nation. The People who are Your Beloved, to all of these cover them with Your Name in strength and mercy. We live abundantly on the Word of God, You have provided.
In Jesus. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †