Zacharias & Elisabeth

Key Text: Luke 1:5-79

How many couples have you heard about going through IVF to have a baby. They go through all the appointments and treatment, and sadly, no baby. Then after it’s all over, a month later, a pregnancy?  How many couples have adopted a baby in resignation that they can’t have one of their own, and then after the adoption, then all of a sudden, a pregnancy! Even though Zacharias is married, he can not bring himself to believe Gabriel’s promise is true. If we can see what seems to be impossible, made possible by natural means, then why couldn’t Zacharias see what seems to be impossible by supernatural means? His faith in God’s power is absent! He knew the law and obeyed it, but he did not know the power of God. Jesus grew up to rebuke people like this, Mk. 12:24.  After Elisabeth conceived and her pregnancy developed, Zacharias began to learn to accept God’s power, this motivated him to give Elisabeth a written explanation of the baby’s name. Elisabeth knew his name was to be John, v60-63.

When God’s grace was born to Elisabeth, then Zacharias blessed God. It is written in Greek, but in content, Luke  put it in the counterpart form like a Hebrew Psalm, the earliest it appeared outside the Bible was in Gaul by Caesarius of Arles, appx 529AD. His words are Praise (v64), Prophecy  (v67) and Adoration (v68) saying…

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he swore to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Lk 1:68-79.

This song is a celebration of God’s government of grace, the visitation of God in the form of a Savior, a Messiah, v68, 78. That is why God & Gabriel wanted the baby’s name to be John – meaning, the grace of the Lord. He wanted Zacharias to realize he didn’t deserve this baby, John was a special gift, reward and blessing. We should bless God for each one of our children, because God sees them ALL as rewards and blessings, Psalm 127:3 & Psalm 127:4-5.

This visitation was God honouring Zacharias & Elisabeth.

Spouses are taught to honor each other. 1st Pt. 3:7 & Eph. 5:33

Parents who show each other honor, are helping their children to learn how to honor them. The root cause of disrespectful children, is the disrespectful way parents treat each other! Their hearts are wrapped in foolishness, (Prv. 22:15) and we must prevent our children from growing up to be fools, (Prv. 27:22). How do we as parents train and warn our children’s hearts? Eph. 6:4.  By explaining our actions of honor towards each other and by sincerely rebuking a child’s rebellion. Do we use God’s power to do this?

The Power of Jesus & Peter

Key Texts:  Matthew 14:24-33, Mark 6:47-52, John 6:16-21

Three texts describing one event, and revealing four miracles.

1-Jesus walking on water, Mt. 14:26, Mk. 6:49, Jn. 6:19.

2-Jesus enabling Peter to walk on water, Mt. 14:29. 

3-Jesus enforcing calmness on the lake, Mt. 14:32, Mk. 6:51. 

4-Jesus transporting the boat to shore, Jn. 6:21. 

These events constitute the fifth great sign of Jesus’ divinity as told by John. His divinity is proved as being the bread of life which supersedes the force of life in the earth, as well as our soul in our bodies. His statement of being “living” bread constitutes power. The disciples in the miraculous meal didn’t learn the spiritual truth revealed until much later, Mk. 6:52. They understood the basic statement of Christ’s deity being real, Mt. 14:33, but didn’t understand the implications of God with them! The devil failed in his attempt to make people take Jesus as king by force, now satan tries to kill the disciples in this storm. The devil succeeded in using Herod to kill John the Immersionist, but God still had work planned for the disciples. If and when God allows the devil to use his tool of death on us, it is only because God can see us as having successfully completed His will in our life, when we have finished doing what He has planned for us, that achievement is rewarded even if the devil does painfully take us to a physical death, it is Jesus who helps us through it, leading us to a spiritual doorway of life, Jn. 10:9. Because He is the bread of life, we need to feed on daily, which will eventually be turned into one eternal day in heaven, for there is no night there, Rv. 21:25 & 22:5.  

Since God in Jesus has work prepared for them, they must be personally introduced to His power working through them. Therefore Peter experiences walking on water, and previously the disciples had a massive multiplication of bread & fish to distribute through their hands to thousands of people. To estimate the ability of distributing enough food for 5000 men besides women and children, we might divide 5000 by 12 and see at least 417 meals multiplied by Jesus via each one of the 12 disciples. A conservative estimate of the total mouths fed may be 8750 on this day, and a few days later, 4000 men were fed, again including women and children may be a total of 7000 people, bringing the total to 15,750. 

The series of miracles connected with the feeding of the 5000 and more, is seen as enforcing God’s presence as the answer to our problems. The stormy lake was leaving the disciples at risk of losing their lives without Jesus, and to see Jesus coming toward them against the wind they are battling, but going faster then all of them in a boat, must have been frightening. Peter’s words, “if it is you, bid me come”, is not reflecting Peter’s doubt about the identity of Jesus. But it is Peter’s pride in his prominence over the other disciples in the boat, to be selected by Jesus to walk on the water, and Peter does it by only one of the words of Jesus, “COME”.  If a ghost said to you, ‘come’, would you? Later on, this kind of prominence in Peter’s character gets him in trouble, Mk. 14:28-30. No matter what our character, when we are in the midst of overcoming temptation, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and never look at the waves. 

The Sea of Galilee is 13 X 8 miles.  It is thought the crossing was about about 6 miles to Capernaum. A furlong, based on the Greek stadion, at about 607 feet, the distance rowed by the disciples, was between 2.87 and 4.01 miles, or about half way across the lake. The timing of it was during 3-6am. John is clear that when Jesus got up onto the boat, they were immediately at the shore. The calmness of the storm and it’s timing of their arrival at the shore leaves an unexplained 2 miles covered. God’s presence makes time & distance pass quickly, our life is a vapour in the abundant life with Jesus, James 4:14. We should delight in getting to stay busy for Jesus every day of our life, not just on Sundays.

The Bread of Life Feeding Thousands

Key Texts:  Mt 14:13-21, 15:32-39, Mk 6:30-44, 8:1-10, Lk 9:10-17, Jn 6:1-14

Bread was part of the staple daily diet in the Jewish economy.  Mary & Joseph would have used public and possibly private ovens for baking bread everyday to feed Jesus and his brothers & sisters.  Jesus was raised on it and is often quoted, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God“, Matthew 4:4.  Jesus taught that we need spiritual food as well as physical food & drink.  Historically, the Jews talked of bread as representing the whole substance of humanity’s physical needs.  Ezekiel calls bread the ‘staff of life’ three times, Ezk. 4:16, 5:16 & 14:13.  Jews also talked of the bread of tears, sorrows, wickedness & deceit, as part of daily life, Psalm 127:2, 80:5, Proverbs 4:17, 20:17.  When Jesus claimed his identity was the bread of life, he was referring to the essential part of spiritual survival and salvation.  Jesus said he came for us to have abundant life, (Jn 10:10) therefore, Jesus is the beginning of a rich lifestyle, filled with wisdom, righteousness, power and purity, glorifying God now and forever more.


This is the only work of  miraculous power which all four gospels contain.   2Kg 4:1-7 may be similar.  You’ve got to be hungry before God can fill you, Luk 1:53, God cannot fill hands that are full of junk. Jesus asked his disciples to do what seemed impossible.  Realize that we  can do what Jesus asks WITH HIS POWER, Lk 9:13ff, Jn 6:6. Philips faith was to  grow to believe Is 55:1‑2ff, was true, Philip was to buy bread from the Lord.   The disciples found they only had 5 little barley rolls and 2 sardine‑like fish  which was a very  small meal, but in the hands of Jesus, little was very much.  We are not to doubt that what we have is little, put ourselves in  Jesus’ hands and let him work through us and we will see that we can do much  for others, we are VALUABLE!  Remember that the overabundance of God’s bles­sings are not to be wasted, Jn 6:12.


After Jesus performed the miracle of feeding over 5000 people bread & fish, he used the bread as an illustration of his own purpose for humanity, while speaking in the Capernaum Synagogue, Jn. 6:1-63.  Jesus made reference to his flesh and his words being like bread.  Therefore we can see Jesus today as the bread of life in his words we read in the Bible and in the communion we share on the Lord’s Day.  Christians held the Apostle’s teaching and the Lord’s communion as an essential part of their worship, Acts 2:37-42.  We know their teaching contained the words of Jesus and the communion as the body of Christ, or bread of life, from which their daily spiritual life was maintained.  It was so important to Paul, that he designed his journeys to incorporate the Lord’s Days activities of communion and the Apostles teachings every first day of the week, Acts 20:1-7.  The Spirit of Christ was with them and they enjoyed the bread of life.   The first day of the week became so important to them, that John describes it as “The Lord’s Day”, Rev. 1:10.  The wonderful reward for Christians that overcome sin, is described as ‘hidden manna’, Rev. 2:17.   Which is an obvious reference to miraculous food from God while Moses led the freed Hebrews out of Egypt, Numb. 11:4-9. Jesus refers to it in Jn. 6:32-33.


Spiritual food is taught and offered in different ways.  The Hebrew writer spoke of the meat & milk of God’s word, Heb. 5:11-6:6.  Paul spoke of spiritual food, being Jesus himself, 1st Cor. 10:1-4.  Peter said we should desire the milk of God’s word as a baby yearns for milk, so we may be saved, 1st Peter 2:1-3.  With this accepted in our hearts, we cannot over emphasize our need to make Jesus the bread of our life.    Do you digest the words of Jesus and commune with his body?

John’s Martyrdom

Key Text: Matthew 14:1-12, Mark 6:14-29, Luke 9:7-9

John was in prison because he had preached that it was sinful for Herod to be living with or be married to his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias, Lk. 3:19. Previously John was forcefully proclaiming Jesus was the Christ, which gave him Herod’s attention. John’s message about Jesus had no miraculous signs, but was regarded as true, (Jn.10:40-42). This teaches us that our message about Christ should put us in the position of defining moral standards for the lost. If we do, draw the line, then those who love truth will get to hear more about how to be saved in Christ and who He really is and what He really deserves from us. While John suffered imprisonment he came to doubt his own message, if Jesus were indeed the Christ. Sometimes we along with John and Thomas may struggle with doubts. Remember Jesus made no move to free John. John may not have understood that Jesus did not dogmatically proclaim his Deity or Messiahship lest he be prematurely arrested and crucified for sedition rather than for his teaching and divine person. Our doubts can ruin our faith, if we do not persevere in God’s viewpoint and trust in His timing. Keep searching and “sending messengers” like John did, Lk. 7:18-23.

Jesus told John’s disciples to tell John what they had seen and heard from his ministry, recalling the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 35:5, Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped, the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are (ceremonially) cleaned, healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. John would be more than familiar with Isa. 61:1. John would take the gospel being preached to the poor as proof for the Messiahship, because only God would use phenomenal physical miracles to bolster a message to the poor, not the rich who would distort it for a physical reign. Paul later ascribed to the power of God in the message, Romans 1:16. One of the beatitudes of Jesus is Blessed is he who shall find no occasion of stumbling in me.” Lk. 7:23. John made no other inquiries of Jesus’ Messiahship.  He accepted the evidence presented by Jesus, He here praised John more than he praised any other person at any time during his ministry, Mt. 11:11.

Herod was one evil man! Matthew 14:9, The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that Salome’s request be granted. The Pharisees knew Herod wanted to kill Jesus too, Luke 13:31, 32, At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else.  Herod wants to kill you.”  He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ Just like Jesus we should imitate their faithfulness even in the face of death. Are we surprised that King Herod was ready to believe that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead?  Pythagoras’ theory of the transmigration of souls was in vogue at that time.  Herod’s guilt may also have made him susceptible to beliefs he ordinarily may not have otherwise entertained. Herod’s advisors had differing but similar views saying: Jesus was Elijah raised from the dead or Jesus was one of the great prophets of the Old Testament who had returned from the dead. But Herod was adamant.  “John, whom I have beheaded, he is risen.” Compare Matthew 16:13-14. Aquila & Priscilla imitated this faith, Romans 16:4, can we?

Had you rather be John in the prison or Herod at the eternal judgment? God’s judgment at length found Herod.  He was defeated by Aretas in a great battle and put to ignominious flight.  Herodias and Herod were banished by the Roman Senate to Lyons by the Emperor Caligula, where they both perished miserably.  Salome fell into some treacherous ice over which she was passing in such a manner that her head was caught while the rest of her body sank into the water.  She perished when her head was (practically) severed by the sharp ice. They died in dishonor, in obscurity in a distant land!  So much for Herod Antipas and his second wife Herodias.

Jesus, Jairus & A Woman

Key Texts: Matthew 9:18‑26, Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:40‑56

Jairus was a religious leader, high in his social order, managing the Synagogue at Capernaum.  Since many of God’s miracles had been shown through Jesus in Galilee, his identity was now getting wider acceptance. For a Jewish Ruler of a Synagogue to bow and give adoration to Jesus is shocking, Mt. 9:18. Why? Because Jairus would have read, lived and taught the shema (Dt. 6:4), repeatedly, there is only one God. How could Jairus believe his monotheistic worship was now towards a mere man in Jesus and simultaneously be in the Temple at Jerusalem, as well as enthroned in Heaven? Isaiah 40:21-22. Did Jairus have an inkling of the trinity? Genesis 1 does, Gen. 1:1-3, 26, Jn. 1:9, 8:12. It is curious that the whole event circles around Jairus and not his daughter. We do not even know the little 12 year old’s name, but only her Dad’s name, Jairus. It means ‘enlightener’, therefore even he had been enlightened by God. The light of the world had revealed exactly who God was to Jairus, and he was convinced there was power for mercy on his daughter.  Are we not to be lights in this world? Mat. 5:14.  He began to worship Jesus  because his needs were greater than his pride. When we realize we have more needs than we have resources, we can then be open–hearted enough to accept the truth of God’s light when we see it.  The good father that Jairus was, had a love greater for his daughter than for himself, and when he couldn’t help her, he knew a man who could.  It is our responsibility to realize that our needs are bigger than our pride, many times it takes a great crisis to wake us up to that fact, but it shouldn’t ever be ignored.  In this event,  Jairus shows us clear steps in trusting Jesus.

First we must humble our self.  We can not have Jesus physically here overcoming death for every ones dying  loved one, but we can submit to Him in order to attain eternal life for ourself, James 4:7‑10.  What are some ways we can submit to Him?

Secondly we must request help.  Jairus is making intercession, and this is the duty of a royal priesthood, 1Peter 2:9.  Jesus  teaches us in Matthew 6:11, to make a daily request for daily needs.  Asking, makes us aware of what we need and who the giver is.  Keeping our minds in the correct place.  How often do we give thanks for healing, for gifts, for even food? But do we first make request when we immediately see the need.  When Jesus hears the bad news of the little girl being dead, he “immediately” saw the need in Jairus’ heart for reassurance, and Jesus pronounced the truth quickly, Lk. 8:49-50.  

Thirdly, be patient and ever mindful of His power.  Jairus did this when he stayed in the crowd excited in seeing the woman healed, but when the men  came and confirmed that his daughter died, did he give up?  No, against the  odds, against the laughing people at Jesus’ remark, he patiently kept believing.  Trials are an  opportunity for us to exercise our faith. We can not afford to give up on God,  James 1:2‑4.

The woman who was healed had persevered in believing in the power of God in Jesus by using every ounce of her strength that was left, to just touch the hem of his garment. Numbers 15:37-41 shows how faithful Jews were all commanded to remind themselves of their duty to keep God’s law and share in His holiness by having this blue trimmed and tasselled hem on their garment. It was somehow a channel of faith and power from her to Jesus, because through it, He felt the power to heal her flow. The power was so effective that it caused her blood to immediately stop, after having haemorrhaged for too long.