The story behind the story. The ‘prequel’ to Christ’s birth! Amazing in it’s own right, not talked about as much. In the beginning of the book of Luke we see the background of fulfilled prophecy and how this story has been coming together, setting the stage for the advent of Christ Jesus!


Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.

  • This was written to be a verified, credible history of sorts.
  • An attempt to codify the oral tradition of the Gospel

Our story begins with a Jewish priest named Zach and wife Beth


When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.

  • Serious compliment to be seen as ‘righteous in God’s eyes’
  • Childless and old…reminiscent of Abraham & Sarah

Zachariah was taking his turn to offer incense at the temple in Jerusalem (big honor). He is in the Holy Place, alone and he is visited by Gabriel The Angel. Zach is scared to death!

13 & 15b-17a

But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John…

He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.

  • The Angel tells Zach he and Beth are going to have a very special son
  • The spirit & power of Elijah is significant (prophetic forerunner of the Messiah)


Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

  • He wants some kind of assurance, which is not a faith move
  • Gabriel makes it clear he is speaking for God Himself…
  • Gabe strikes Zach ‘speechless’

Zach goes home and even though he cannot speak, he and Elisabeth conceive! It is seen as a miracle…and the scene shifts to Nazareth…


In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

  • Gabriel is on another visitation
  • We see who Mary and Joseph are
  • He calls her ‘Favored’…quite an understatement!


Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

  • 1st Gabe told of the forerunner of the Messiah, now he is announcing the Christ
  • This description can only be about One: The Messiah / The Christ


Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”

  • Mary is questioning in a different way & questioning a different thing than Zach
  • Gabe puts the two stories together of the miracle births, one is unprecedented
  • All that Gabriel say is the actual ‘Word of God’
  • Mary’s response: “I am the Lord’s servant”


A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She enered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?

  • John the Baptist in the womb, is filled with God’s Spirit
  • Beth, filled with The Spirit proclaims the 1st recognition of Jesus as Lord!
  • She is humbled when she gets the whole story

Then Mary breaks out in an epic song of praise V46-55. The last line: “For He made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” This is explaining to the gentiles how all of this is been in the works thru the Jews for centuries…the whole story of the Bible… (Then Mary stays 3 months, came @ 6 mo) Then John the baptist is born…Zach gets his voice back. He speaks of prophecy to be fulfilled in his son & ultimately The Messiah


Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant—the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham.

  • Has visited…Has sent… he is talking like it has already happened (faith)
  • Declaring how this Savior to be born will bring salvation
  • Fulfillment of the covenant oath God made to Abraham


And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

  • John is to prepare the way…play the Elijah role
  • All humanity is overshadowed by death, but now there is a path to avoid death!
  • This is what God is offering each of us through His Son: Total Peace!

Application Questions:

Do you consider this account to be valid and true? Why or why not?

Why do you think God chronicled all of this prior to Jesus’ birth?

What’s significant in how Mary & Zachariah react differently to Gabriel’s announcements?

Do you want what God is offering in His Messiah?

I pray we are all ‘Joining The Wise Men’. They saw the supernatural work of God and they wanted details. This ‘Star’ was no normal occurrence; A miracle that makes Jonah look explainable. They knew what the set up of the stars was, Christ’s Star was outside the natural. These guys were Astronomers, they studied the stars…they knew what should be where at certain times of the year. They had seen the normal stars, so this one stood out…They were willing to believe miracles can happen, are you?

Matthew 2:1-16

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

  • About that time…actually TWO YEARS after Christ was born!
  • ‘Wise Men’ = Magi / Astronomers (Two Places they came from)
    • Arabs (As descendants of Ishmael they would know scripture)
      • Facade on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
    • Persians (Descendants of people led by Daniel, they would know scripture)
  • Came to Jerusalem; general location of Star (not visible when they arrive)
  • Star was foretold: Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel…”
    • Messianic prophecy, they found the scripture once they had seen the star
  • This whole process of figuring it our may have taken a while, then to travel…
  • They showed up asking about ‘The King of the Jews’ who had been born

3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said…

  • Herod was disturbed because he was an ‘Illegitimate King’! (everybody knew it)
  • Knowing they spoke of the Messiah, he consulted the experts on Scripture
  • The exact location was to be Bethlehem…

for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” (Micah 5:2 & 4)

  • Maji would know of Numbers (1300 BC) but not of Micah (700BC)
  • Bethlehem was David’s hometown

7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

  • Herod doing everything on the sly
  • “Find him for me so I can kill him, um, I mean worship him”

9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!

  • Why were they filled with Joy? They were in the right place!
  • What was this ‘Star’? Perhaps The Shechinah Glory of God
  • It came and went some… not a normal star
  • Being where God is working fills you with joy!

11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

  • House, not stable
  • Three gifts, but we don’t know how many guys
  • Gold for a King / Frankincense used by Priests / Myrrh to embalm the dead
  • The three gifts underline the Messiah’s offices as prophet, priest and king.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

  • They listen to God not Herod
  • They had played their role: to give credence to what God was doing

13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

  • Joseph had experience with ‘God Dreams’ and knew what to do
  • Herod would be a threat (because he was threatened) until he died

14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” (Hosea 11:1)

  • More prophecy connected to Jesus’ life

16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance.

  • Since his plot to secretively find the Messiah had been thwarted he went big
  • This is how we know the wise men were not there at the birth of Christ
  • It was two years later!

Application Questions:

How do you react to something that is beyond explanation (Miracles) in your life?

What are ways you can follow some ‘Wisemen’ to be where God is working?

How might you specifically be willing to take chances and be persistent to see God working?

Why might there be a connection between miracles you have seen and your belief in miracles?

The conclusion about the Star of Bethlehem: It cannot be explained by science. It was a special, supernatural light created by God just as we are, to be a celebratory sign of the birth of His Son made man. Simply put, it was a miracle of light to herald a miraculous virgin birth of the One sent to save us. Hallelujah!


Oh to be younger again…Youth is wasted on young people! Older people often miss today because they are focused on yesterday. As the ‘Teacher’ wraps up this writing. he makes an appeal to live with eternal urgency.

Ch. 11:7-10

7 Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. 8 When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.

  • Each day can be enjoyed & is reason to rejoice, because hard times will come
  • You may see light today, yet tomorrow may be dark and unintelligible

9 Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. 10 So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.

  • Use your youth to the fullest, you will never be young again under the sun…
  • Be a steward of the vitality you have and be accountable to God in how you live
  • Refusing to worry is being ‘God Dependent’
  • Value health, it doesn’t get any easier to stay fit, so if you can’t do it now…
  • But don’t make an idol of your youth (enjoy responsibly)

Chapter 12

1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” 2 Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.

  • Terms ‘Remember’ & ‘Honor’ have to do with Loyalty & Devotion… (Priorities)
  • It’s easy to justify living 4 yourself now and ‘Planning’ to live 4 God in the future
  • Orientate your life to God now while your physicality is the best it will ever be
  • Life gets more complicated, you get more limited physically; people blame God
  • Devote your life to him now because ‘It’s all down hill form here’ (after 35)

3 Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.

  • When we have youth and vitality we can be complacent about our need for God
  • If you can depend on God when you are strong you will when you are weak

4 Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.

  • We only have so long to be productive and build things (Stewardship)
  • Give God your best years, serving eternal purposes while you can

5 Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.

  • Devote your life to him before you have to be careful, while can take chances
  • There is a time coming when your body will lose it’s desires & passions
  • We are all dying…this body has one destination: the grave!

6 Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. 7 For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

  • We are all going to breakdown physically, literally to dust (everything decays)
  • This body will be dust, but our Spirit is in God’s hands

8 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.” 9 Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them.

  • The pronouncement of ‘Meaninglessness’ comes from a place of ‘wisdom’
  • He amassed the knowledge of all known wisdom and shared it

10 The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly. 11 The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.

  • This scripture is meant to communicate truth, direct revelation from God
  • The hard reality of the choice we must make: God-life or Me-life
  • We need hard, painful yet helpful lessons and guidance
  • We are the sheep, God’s Word is the nail-studded stick

12 But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.

  • Don’t get caught up in the purely intellectual pursuit of learning
  • Knowledge needs to be seasoned with living

So here is the end!

What is the conclusion of the wisest person who ever lived?

13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

  • Fearing God & Obeying in relationship is the sum of what our existence is
  • We are made to live for Christ!
  • He has the last word and ALL the information…everything!

Application Questions:

How do you intentionally honor God and enjoy the season of life you are in?

How can you build a lifestyle of ‘God Remembrance’ sooner rather than later?

Why do you think living longer would over stress an unstable relationship with God?

How can you more frequently expose yourself to some painful but helpful wisdom?