Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-six through thirty-eight of the first chapter. WHEN THE BARREN AND THE VIRGIN CONCEIVE TOGETHER! When you come to this particular passage of scripture you will find the second of a series of angelic messages that was proclaimed within the account of the birth of the Messiah and the Messenger. What I absolutely love about how this particular passage of scripture opens is that it begins completely different than how the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Mark began. As you come to the opening verses found within this passage of scripture you will find two specific messages which were delivered straight from the throne of God in heaven and delivered through the angel Gabriel. In the first thirty-right verses of this chapter you will find the angel Gabriel being sent—first to Zacharias as He fulfilled his duty and responsibility within the Temple, and second to Mary within the town of Nazareth of Galilee. In these verses you will find the angel Gabriel being dispatched from the throne of God with two very important and two very specific messages—namely, proclaiming and declaring the birth of the messenger and the birth of the messiah. Oh how absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think upon and consider that which is found in these verses, for the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke begins and opens up with the angel Gabriel being sent to the earth at two distinct times to foretell and declare two specific births—each with two very specific purposes, roles and functions. As you read this portion of scripture you will find that the angel first appeared unto Zacharias while ministering in the temple and fulfilling his priestly duties, while it wasn’t until six months later when the angel Gabriel would be sent unto Nazareth to deliver yet a second message unto Mary who was a virgin espoused and pledged to be married to Joseph of the line of David.
I cannot escape the wonderful and tremendous reality that when you come to the first chapter of the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ according to Luke you will find the account of the messiah beginning with an account of the angel Gabriel being dispatched and sent by the living God in order that He might deliver a very specific message unto two very specific individuals. The first of these two angelic visitations and messages would be delivered unto one who was well advanced and stricken in years while they performed their duties and ministry before the Lord in His holy Temple. The second of these two visitations would take place in the little town of Nazareth and would be spoken unto a young virgin who was espoused to be married to a man by the name of Joseph. I have to admit that I absolutely love what I find and read in these verses because they bring us face to face with the proclamation of the messenger and the messiah—two men who would enter into the earth with a divine mandate from the living God to bring restoration and redemption within the hearts of men. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that at the same time the Lord would raise up two distinct men within and upon the earth, and would send one to bring restoration within and among the hearts of men, while the other would bring redemption within the hearts and lives of men. The entire role, purpose and function of the messenger and forerunner of the messiah was in fact to prepare a way for the messiah and to make ready a people for the messiah through a baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. The entire role, purpose and function of the messenger which went before the face of the messiah would be to make ready and prepare a people to face and meet the messiah who would come to bring redemption and salvation to mankind. Oh how truly remarkable and wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that the Lord raised up a messenger who would enter into the picture before the messiah, and would prepare and make ready a people through repentance and through baptism unto the remission of sins. This messenger would come forth into the earth like a flash of lightning across the sky, for He would be in the picture for just a short period of time preparing and making ready a people to meet and discover the messiah who had been long foretold by the prophets and the scripture. It would be through the law and the prophets that the coming of the messiah would be foretold and would set a very specific expectation and anticipation within the hearts of men and women during that time.
What we find when we come to this particular section of Scripture is the preparation and beginning stages of the plan of redemption and restoration which was long foretold by the prophets and through the law beginning to take place within the earth. What makes this so incredibly intriguing and powerful is the fact that it would come after four-hundred years of silence with no prophetic message and no prophetic word from heaven. The angelic message which was first delivered unto Zacharias in the Temple while he stood ministering before and unto the Lord would be the first of any communication from the living God within and upon the earth since the prophet Malachi delivered the prophetic message that was ordained and appointed by the living God for him to deliver. As you come near and approach the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find Luke speaking unto Theophilus whom he was writing the letter to in order to set forth a clear and detailed description of the events surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ within and upon the earth. In order to begin to properly set the stage for the story and account of the messiah to be presented within this particular gospel the beloved physician Luke saw fit to begin in an unusual place, for he chose to begin in and with the place of revelation, and that revelation coming after nearly four-hundred years of silence within the earth. The beloved physician Luke saw fit and desired to begin the account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ boy presenting his reader with the silence being broken by two very specific angelic messages which would be delivered unto two very specific individuals. One of the things I absolutely love about this particular account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ is that it brings us face to face with a series of angelic messages which were delivered unto very specific individuals. The first of these angelic messages would of course be delivered unto Zacharias as he engaged in his priestly ministries and duties within the Temple before the altar of incense, while the second of these angelic messages would be delivered unto the Virgin Mary who was living in the town of Nazareth at that time. As you continue reading the account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke you will find a third angelic message being delivered unto the shepherd who were watching over and tending their flock by night. Oh, imagine the sight as the glory of God, and as the radiance of a chorus of angels illuminated the evening sky and not only sang praises before and unto the living God, but also proclaimed and professed the birth and arrival of the Messiah. As you continue to study the life and ministry of the Messiah you will find two additional angelic visitations taking place within the life of Joseph—the first to encourage him to fulfill his vow to take marry as his wife, and the second to warn him of Herod’s rage and plot to kill all the young males under the age of three.
Once the beloved physician Luke clearly sets forth the purpose for the writing of this treatise—this gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ—he then transitions into where he desires to take the story and account of the life and ministry of Jesus. The beloved physician Luke chooses to begin in the city of Jerusalem and at the very Temple of the living God where one would stand ministering before and unto the living God according to his lot as a priest of the Lord. In verses five through twenty-five of this particular chapter found within the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find first and foremost the account of the proclamation and declaration of the angel Gabriel unto Zacharias as he stood ministering in the temple before the Lord. It would be this first angelic visitation and proclamation that would not speak of and mention the arrival of the Messiah, but rather would speak of the arrival and emergence of the Messenger who would go before the Messiah in order that he might make ready and prepare a people for the arrival of the Messiah. How absolutely and incredibly intriguing and interesting it is to think about and consider the fact that in al but the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, the account of and story of Jesus begins first and foremost with the messenger who would be sent by God into the earth in order to prepare and make ready a people for the coming of the Lord. In the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ which were written by the apostle Matthew, the physician Luke, and even John Mark, we find the story and account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ beginning with the messenger who would be sent before the face of the Messiah in order that a people might be made ready and prepared to come face to face with and meet the Lord. Interestingly enough the apostle Matthew chooses to open up and begin his own gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ by first speaking to the genealogy of Jesus Christ, as he traced it back to Abraham and David, while Mark includes no genealogy and no record of the lineage of Jesus the Christ, but begins directly with the account of the messenger who would go before the face of the Messiah. Luke on the other hand would include a genealogical account of the Messiah in his account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, but would not begin his treatise that way. Instead, the beloved physician Luke would open up and begin his epistle by writing concerning the visitations of the angel Gabriel who would first appear in Jerusalem and unto Zacharias as he stood before the Lord ministering in the Temple, and secondly would appear in Nazareth and unto Mary who was espoused to Joseph to be his wife.
I am convinced that in order to truly understand that which is found in the opening verses of the first chapter of the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the physician Luke, it is first necessary to turn and direct our attention back to the words of an ancient Hebrew prophet by the name of Isaiah. It is within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah that we come face to face with very specific prophetic words and messages concerning the messenger, as well as the Messiah who was to come after the messenger. In order to set the stage correctly and properly, I will first present you with the words of the prophet as written and recorded in the fortieth chapter of the book before directing your attention to that which was written concerning the messiah in the seventh and ninth chapters of the book. Consider if you will the words and language which is found in this particular Old Testament book beginning first with and in the fortieth chapter of the book concerning the Messenger of the Lord:
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and the good linens thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fade the: because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:1-8).
It is with these words that we find the ancient Hebrew prophet speaking of and foretelling the coming of the Messenger who would be sent into and upon the earth before the face of the Messiah in order that he might through repentance of sins and a baptism unto the remission of sins would be ready for the coming and arrival of the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah was given a clear glimpse into the events which would unfold in the earth when both the messenger would emerge on to the scene, as well as the Messiah who would also emerge on to the scene. At one point there would not only be the presence of the Messenger, but there would also be the presence of the Messiah within and upon the earth at the same time. In fact, this picture is no more clearer than it is in the New Testament gospel of John when he describes John speaking of the Messiah and then beholding Him as He walked upon the earth. It would be John the Baptist who would twice emphatically proclaim and emphatically declare unto those who were before him concerning the presence of the Messiah upon the earth, and would call one those before him to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The story and account of the Messiah would be foretold within and by the Hebrew Law, as well as the ancient Hebrew prophets, and the prophet Isaiah was perhaps the one prophet who had a clearly defined picture of the Messiah who would enter into the earth in order that He might ransom and redeem mankind from their sins. This picture of the Messiah is clearly seen in both the seventh and ninth chapters of this prophetic book, when the prophet clearly gave two prophetic words which would perfectly describe the emergence and coming of the Messiah of the living God. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in both the seventh and ninth chapters of this ancient Old Testament prophetic book which was written by the prophet Isaiah concerning the Messiah:
“Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahvaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahvaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings” (Isaiah 7:10-16).
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
It is with these two particular prophetic passages found within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah that we find the coming and birth of the Messiah being foretold and prophesied by Isaiah who was perhaps the one ancient Hebrew prophet who saw the clearest picture of the coming of the Messiah of any of the ancient Hebrew prophets. It would be the prophet Isaiah who would deliver many of the prophetic messages concerning the messiah which are found within the New Testament—even some which would be quoted by Jesus Christ Himself as He walked upon the earth. It is necessary to include these prophetic references concerning the Messenger and the Messiah, for it is worth understanding that there was a clear expectation and anticipation for the Messiah, as well as perhaps the Mesenger who would come before the face of the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah not only saw the coming of the Messiah, but the prophet Isaiah also saw the coming of the divine Messenger of the living God who would come before the face of the Messiah and would prepare and make ready a people to meet and encounter the Messiah. How absolutely wonderful it is that when the living God sought to break the silence after four hundred years of no open vision and no prophetic word, He first chose to send the angel Gabriel to speak of and foretell of the birth of two individuals who would bring about a wonderful restoration and redemption upon the earth among the hearts of men. After four hundred years of silence the living God would break the silence by sending His own messenger—the angel Gabriel—to speak of and foretell the coming and birth of two men who would come upon the earth to exact and perform radical change and transformation among the hearts of men. The ultimate reality would be the manifestation fo the Messiah who was the long anticipated and long expected servant of the living God, however, the Messiah could and would not come without and apart from the Messenger of the Lord coming before the Messiah and effectively preparing the way for the Messiah. It was necessary for the Messiah to come, however, the Messiah would and could not come without and apart from the Messenger of the Lord first coming before Him and preparing and making ready a people for the Lord. It was true that the Messiah would in fact come into and come upon the earth, however, the manifestation of the Messiah would not come until the way was first prepared by the Messenger who would come before His face into the earth, and would make ready a people to meet and encounter the living God.
What I so absolutely love about the New Testament gospel of Luke is that within the first chapter—not only do we encounter the barren conceiving in order that she might bring forth a son, but we also encounter the virgin conceiving in order that she might herself bring forth a son. The living God would in fact bring forth the Messiah into the earth, and in order to bring forth the Messiah into the earth, the virgin herself would conceive of the Holy Ghost, and would bring forth a son who would be called Jesus and would be the Son of the living God. In addition to the virgin conceiving and bringing forth a son, there would also be the account of the barren herself conceiving and bringing forth a son—one who would go before the Messiah as His divine messenger who would make ready and prepare the way for the Messiah to manifest Himself upon the earth. One thing I find to be so absolutely and incredibly intriguing is that not only would the virgin conceive, but the virgin would also conceive of the Holy Ghost, and would not conceive of and from man. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for that which would be conceived and that which would grow inside of her would in fact be the very life of the Messiah and would be the very life of the Son of the living God. Not only would the life of the Messiah be conceived within her, but also that life would begin to grow within her womb—at first subtly and almost imperceptible and invisible to the natural eye, but later would become more visible and more noticeable to the eyes of those who would look upon her. I find it absolutely wonderful and incredible that when it came to the life and nature of the Son of God being conceived within the womb and physical body of Mary, it would not come as a result of any human interaction, and would not have anything to do with man, but would be a direct result of an interaction with the Holy Spirit of the living God. It would be the Holy Spirit which would come upon Mary and would completely overshadow her, and would impregnate her with the life of the Messiah. Oh, how absolutely wonderful and remarkable this concept truly is when you take the time to think about it, for when we think about and when we speak about the life and nature of the Son of the living God being manifested within our hearts and lives, it is necessary and imperative that we understand that it is not something that can be produced of men, nor is it anything that can be initiated by any man. When we think about and when we speak about the manifestation of the life of the Son of God within our hearts and lives, we must recognize and understand that it is something that can only come through a personal interaction and encounter with the Holy Spirit, and came never be produced with, from and by any interaction with man. Man has never and man will never be responsible for producing the life and nature of the Son of God within our hearts and lives, for only the living Spirit of God Himself can cause the life and nature of the Son of God to be produced within our hearts and lives. Consider if you will that which is written and recorded in the fourth chapter of the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle of the apostle Paul written unto the churches in Galatia beginning with the eighteenth verse:
“But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again unto Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond maid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bond woman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath. Many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bond woman and her son: for the son of the bond woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond woman, but of the free” (Galatians 4:18-31).
I have two admit that I am wonderfully moved by the words and language which I find in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke, for within the first chapter of this New Testament gospel we find the written account of the barren and the virgin joining together in fulfillment of the divine plan and purpose of the living God within and upon the earth. I find it to be absolutely incredible and remarkable that when the living God sought to bring about His divine purposes within and upon the earth, He used both the barren as well as the virgin to bring forth that which would be manifested within and upon the earth. Now while this was the first time the living God would use a virgin to bring forth that which would be manifested in the earth, it would not be the first time the living God would use the barren to bring forth that which He desired to bring forth within the earth. If you study the Old Testament you will find that there were several barren women who were used by the living God to bring about His specific purposes within the earth—women such as Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah’s wife, and even Hannah. Each of these women were barren and unable to conceive children until the living God intervened, opened their wombs, and caused them to conceive and bring forth a child. It would be through Sarah that Isaac would be born; it would be through Rebekah that Jacob and Esau would be born; it would be through Rachel that Joseph and Benjamin would be born; it would be through Manoah’s wife that Samson would be born; and it be through Hannah that Samuel would be born. At least five times before Zecharias and Elizabeth the Lord would use the barren womb and the barren woman in order to cause that which He desired to be brought forth in the earth to be conceived and enter into the earth. When it came to the manifestation of both the Messenger, as well as the Messiah, the Lord would cause the barren womb to be opened and bring forth a son, and would enter into the womb of the virgin in order to conceive and bring forth the. Messiah. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that when the living God sought to bring forth the Messenger who would go before the face of the Messiah, He chose to use the barren womb of one who was advanced and stricken in years, and would even instruct the angel Gabriel to speak to such an affect when delivering his appointed message to Mary who was espoused to be married to Joseph. When speaking unto Mary the angel Gabriel would reveal unto Mary that her cousin Elizabeth has herself conceived in her old age, and would give birth and bring forth a son into the earth. Furthermore the angel Gabriel would go on to declare unto Mary that with God there is absolutely nothing that is or would be impossible, for with God all things are possible.
WHEN THE BARREN AND THE VIRGIN CONCEIVE IN THE EARTH! I am completely and utterly convinced that what we find in this passage of Scripture is a wonderful and powerful picture of the plan and purposes of the living God being accomplished in the earth through that which for all intents and purposes shouldn’t be able to conceive and bring forth a son, for until that time no one had ever heard of a virgin woman conceiving and bringing forth a child. There were accounts of barren wombs being opened in order that life might be conceived and brought forth, but this would be the first time where a virgin would herself conceive, and that of the Holy Ghost, in order that she might bring forth the life of the Messiah, and the life of the Son of God within her life. I absolutely love reading the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke, for within it we find the Lord not only breaking the silence after four-hundred years, but we find the Lord breaking the silence by causing the barren womb to be opened and to conceive, as well as the womb of the virgin to be able to conceive without and apart from interaction with man. IN order for the living God to fulfill and accomplish His plans and purposes within the earth, He would cause the barren womb and the virgin womb to be opened and conceive at the same time—a reality which up until that time had not happened or taken place. I am thoroughly convinced that there is a tremendous prophetic message that is found within this passage of Scripture—namely, the Lord’s desire to cause that which is barren to be opened in order that He might bring forth that which will be manifested within the earth. What’s more, is that there is within this passage of Scripture a wonderful and powerful picture of the life of the Messiah being conceived and brought forth within life of Mary through a direct interaction with the Spirit of the living God. Alone and apart from the Holy Spirit the Virgin Mary would and could not conceive and bring forth a son, for she had not known a man and had not experienced any sort of physical intimacy. IN order for the life of the Son of the living God to be manifested and brought forth within the womb and physical body of Mary, it would come as a direct result of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit alone. What’s more, is that not only would the Holly Spirit cause that which should not conceive to bring forth, but it would also be the life of the Messiah growing inside and within her that would eventually cause her physical body and appearance to change and people would begin to notice that something was different about Mary. At one point there would come a time when Mary could no longer hide that which was growing inside of her, for she would begin to show signs of the life that was growing inside her. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the tremendous reality of the Holy Spirit causing the life of the Messiah to be brought forth and conceived within the womb of Mary without and apart from any human interaction, for it is only through the Spirit that the life of the Son of God can be manifested within our hearts and lives. We dare not, we cannot, we must not make any attempt to conceive and cultivate the life of the Son of God within our lives without and apart from the Holy Spirit, for the life of the Son can never and will never be brought forth through any physical means. Just as that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and there is a need to cast out the bond woman with her son which is born of the flesh, so also we must recognize and understand that that which is conceived of the Spirit is Spirit and cannot be produced by and through any physical and natural means. Oh that we would quit and cease trying to conceive and cultivate the life of the Son of God within our hearts and lives through our own physical and natural means, and that we would allow the Holy Spirit to bring about the life of the Messiah within us.