In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
During Lent, we are using short videos to share a daily idea (linked to the gospel of Luke) on how to grow spiritually. Watch today’s video. Click here or on the image below:
Note: We are reading the entire gospel of Luke in the GPS. Some day’s readings are longer than usual. We hope you’ll have an extra cup of coffee, or use your lunch break, and read Luke’s entire story of Jesus.
57 When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a boy. 58 Her neighbors and relatives celebrated with her because they had heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy. 59 On the eighth day, it came time to circumcise the child. They wanted to name him Zechariah because that was his father’s name. 60 But his mother replied, “No, his name will be John.”
61 They said to her, “None of your relatives have that name.” 62 Then they began gesturing to his father to see what he wanted to call him.
63 After asking for a tablet, he surprised everyone by writing, “His name is John.” 64 At that moment, Zechariah was able to speak again, and he began praising God.
65 All their neighbors were filled with awe, and everyone throughout the Judean highlands talked about what had happened. 66 All who heard about this considered it carefully. They said, “What then will this child be?” Indeed, the Lord’s power was with him.
67 John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,
68 “Bless the Lord God of Israel
because he has come to help and has delivered his people.
69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
70 just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
71 He has brought salvation from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
72 He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
73 the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted 74 that we would be rescued
from the power of our enemies
so that we could serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
for as long as we live.
76 You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
77 You will tell his people how to be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”
80 The child grew up, becoming strong in character. He was in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.
When John the Baptist was born, his father Zechariah first praised, not his own son, but the child Mary would bear. He said God “has raised up a mighty savior for us….He has brought salvation…he has shown mercy.” Zechariah said his son would share the good news that “The dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness.”
Click here to incorporate music and worship from the COR Worship Collective into your daily practice and devotion.
King Jesus, Zechariah and his son John focused on bringing praise and glory to you, not themselves. Keep developing the same spirit in me. Amen.
Today’s passage recording the birth of John the Baptist (JtB hereafter) is full of so much intrigue, let’s jump right in:
Elizabeth gives birth to a son. On the 8th day, as per Jewish law, the baby is to be named & circumcised. The gathered friends & family assume the baby will be named after his father – Zechariah. In Biblical times, this was the norm – it meant the son would follow in his father’s footsteps & likewise that the father was worthy of respect. Elizabeth’s opting for John could initiate all sorts of questions – why wasn’t Zechariah worthy of this honor?
Aside: Naming babies IS a huge responsibility. Like the story of the woman who went into a coma in the midst of pregnancy with twins – a boy & a girl. After childbirth, the mother awakens & is told that her brother had named her babies. The new mom is concerned because her brother wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. She anxiously asks, what is the girl’s name? Denise. Whew, that’s a beautiful name thought the Mom. What’s the boy’s name? Denephew.
Zechariah, following the angel Gabriel’s instructions, confirms that the baby’s name would be John, which can mean God is gracious. Interestingly, there are at least 7 recorded occasions when God or His angels intervene in the naming process: Isaac & Ishmael, Solomon, Josiah, Cyrus, JtB, & Jesus. (With the last name, Lippe, which rhymes with hippie, it’d be awkward if God had pre-selected names for us like Missy, Pippi, Libby or, yipes, G. Gordon. Fortunately for our 2 sons, Doris & I each made a list of 10 names. Matthew & Benjamin appeared on both of our 1st lists & Jacob & Johnathan appeared on our 2nd lists. So, crisis adverted.)
Immediately after confirming JtB’s name, Zechariah is able to speak again, possibly because this meant any remaining disbelief or doubt had been completely erased. What follows is the ultimate birth announcement. (Well, until God really ups the ante a few months later. I shudder to think how ostentatious/obnoxious my birth announcements would have been for our sons if I was tempted with the access to choirs of angels & being able to alter celestial patterns – one star wouldn’t have been sufficient, I’d probably write “It’s a boy!” across the heavens.) (Personally, I’d be amazed if it were that succinct – Editor.)
Now comes the Song of Zechariah or Benedictus (Latin for the opening line “Blessed be the Lord.”). This is one of 3 canticles/songs in Luke. (The other 2 are Mary’s “Magnificat” & “Nunc Dimittis” – the Song of Simeon at Jesus’ redemption ceremony in Luke 2). Let’s take a look at our song:
Zechariah, who has had 9 months to contemplate these thoughts, understandably opens by praising God, recounting the promises made to David & Abraham. Like any father of a newborn, Zechariah is in awe of the whole birth process – it all seems a “bit too perfect” to be a crazy coincidence. There has to be a Creator behind the amazing sequence that creates something as marvelously intricate as a baby’s hand.
At this point, Zechariah is rolling. He starts prophesizing about his son, JtB:
Wow. That’s quite a lot of expectations for an 8-day-old baby boy. (Makes our hopes of 2 consecutive hours of sleep seem paltry in comparison.) So, what does this scene mean for us 2,000 years later?
I would contend that Luke was right. An orderly account of Jesus’ life & ministry had to include JtB’s birth & an amazing elderly couple, Elizabeth & Zechariah.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see what were some of our options if we had a baby girl. Alexa? Boy, that would have caused a lot of confusion: Alexa – Why not play outside? ALEXA: PLAYING THE SONG OUTSIDE BY CALVIN HARRIS FROM HIS ALBUM “18 MONTHS.”
* Wright, N. T., Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone) (p. 19). SPCK. Kindle Edition.