Luke 1: Getting Ready and Waiting for God's New Work

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Reading: Luke 1

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 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, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever." (Luke 1:51-55)

Thinking and Reflecting
Luke is a favorite gospel, but often less read. God is preparing for a new work never before seen. Reading between the lines of the introduction, Luke is saying that while the things that have occurred may seem random, unexplainable, and unorganized, there is a design and purpose that can be discerned when the events are set forth in an orderly way.
The uniqueness of the birth of John the Baptist suggests the new work of God. The announcement of the birth of Jesus confirms it. The song of Mary foreshadows the truth that God is preparing to change the world-literally turning it upside down so that the proud are brought low, the mighty are brought down, the lowly are exalted, the hungry are filled, the rich are emptied. This text, one of the first of many "reversal" texts, introduces the flavor of the gospel. It will not happen immediately, but the beginning has come. Patience! "And John the Baptist grew and became strong in spirit, waiting until his public appearance in Israel."

In our instantaneous world, we are not very good at waiting. We seldom want to give God time to work. We more often desire instant results. Patience! God is working his work. He is using his people; he is reaching out to include those who are beyond the reach of God's people if we limit ourselves to human resources and human means. The story of Luke's gospel is a story of power and intrigue, a story with plots and subplots. For the next month, let us read the story anew, as much as possible as though we have never heard it before. Let us see new things and ponder them. What is God doing in our world? What does God want to do in your life? Luke's gospel will bring the answer. Let us listen carefully.

Dear Heavenly Father, help me slow down in the coming days, to hear afresh the story of Jesus. Bless my efforts to hear, to marvel, to learn, and to grow. Help me as I grasp what you are already doing, hear your call for me to join you in your work, and find my unique place. Help me that I may be a help to others. In Jesus' name and by his power I pray, Amen.

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Last updated May 27, 2011