“Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’”
Luke, one of Jesus’ disciples, was a person who spread the Word of the Lord and left a record of the Apostles’ activities by recording the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. He recorded Jesus’ ministry and teachings in the Gospel of Luke. He recorded in detail the works that Jesus’ Apostles and disciples had done through the Holy Spirit after Jesus went back to Heaven because he wanted to leave them to future generations. Thus, Luke was a person who had a great interest in leaving behind in writing the works of the Lord, His Apostles and disciples. He wanted to clearly tell that Jesus is the Savior and all the work that the apostles performed through the Spirit. So, he left behind all the facts by meticulously recording them in writing.
He wrote, “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” It seemed he taught a man named Theophilus (a man in high position because he was addresses as ‘most excellent’) the gospel and the Word. But he worried greatly that others reading it may be suspicious of the gospel of the Lord that he told Theophilus, and that someone might later misunderstand it and degenerate it by some religion, doctrine, or denomination.
At any rate, many disciples, including the apostles John and Mark and the tax collector, Matthew, recorded the gospel of Jesus Christ with the purpose of what I just said. Luke also thought that he had to take a close look at, write, and spread this gospel in detail. So he picked up his writing instrument, wrote the account in detail, and sent it to the person named Theophilus. He came to hear about Jesus and His gospel through the disciples in this fashion. Since he wanted to send it to this person who was in a high government position, Luke wanted to speak concretely of the gospel from its beginning and whether it actually happened or it was just a supposition. He wanted to write something that would give Theophilus a correct faith.
So, Luke, the author, first wrote about the birth of John the Baptist by saying this of Zacharias, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah.” While speaking of how John was the messenger of God, he started recording these facts: Elijah prophesied of in the Old Testament is John who was born as the son of Zacharias; that time was the time when Herod was the king of Judea; John was born as the son of Elizabeth and the high priest, Zacharias; God sent an angel to Zacharias who spoke to him and, through the power of that Word, his wife Elizabeth obtained a son who would become a great prophet. These things were not done by the power of man but were done by God. The angel said to Zacharias, “And your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth” and “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’” Luke wanted to write these facts and clearly bring light to the fact that Jesus is the true Savior, not only to Theophilus, but also to generations to come.
Luke thus wrote the beginning of his gospel in the style of a narrative and biography. If someone intends to write a biography of someone else, he needs to record the background and history of that time, record that person’s birth along with his youth and adulthood, and record his family history which tells who his parents are. Luke recorded all these parts in the style of a biography.
We can also know in detail that the Savior, Jesus Christ, came and how it was that He came through the biographical account recorded in the Bible. Brothers and sisters, the most joyful news to mankind is probably the fact that the only begotten Son of God was born on this earth as our Savior to save the people who sat in darkness and were sinners. We were first born once as sinners and have been born again through the Word of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have thus been remade into the people of God. We were born once as sinners from our mothers’ wombs and afterwards were born again through God as the righteous. God thus performed the work of having us to be born again as the righteous by making us once on the earth and afterwards making us once through His Word.
The Lord who is God came to this earth once in order to accomplish that work. If there were one thing that is the biggest news on this earth, it would be the fact that Jesus who is God came to this world to save all humanity. There are quite a lot of incidents that occur in this world and many things that happen in our lives. But even so, the biggest news to us is that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us. This is also the biggest joy to us. Jesus Christ took a body and came to this earth once to save you and me and all the people of this world. This is really the biggest news; something we must remember and not forget and something we must ponder over again.
So, how did Jesus Christ come to this earth? Who did He come to? I, like Luke would also like to give an account of those things today. I would like to give thanks before the Lord who saved us from sin and made us into the people of God. God sent John the Baptist to this earth before Jesus Christ came. He sent John the Baptist and then sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ through Mary. Jesus Christ who is God was born by borrowing the body of the Virgin Mary to save us. The Spirit prophesied in advance through the Virgin Mary’s lips that Jesus Christ would come to this earth by borrowing her body, and He told her what Jesus would do after coming to the earth in the future.
Let’s read Luke 1, verses 49 and 50. “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.” The Lord of Salvation came to this world. He is Jesus Christ. It says, “And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.” Brothers and sisters, God has mercy on those who fear and acknowledge Him, and He gives salvation to them from generation to generation. God clothes with salvation those who fear Him. Jesus the Savior came to this world and said He would save all those who feared God.
Jesus, who is the Savior of all humankind, came to this earth and “has shown strength with His arm and has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.” Brothers and sisters, this means that Jesus the Savior, came to this world, showed His strength, scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, and put down the mighty from their thrones. He exalted the lowly, filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. Brothers and sisters, this means that the Savior came to this world, drives away those in the world who are proud in their hearts, those who trust in the power of the world, and those who trust in money and do not fear God, and He judges them all. The Person who came to this world to become its Savior and save it is our Lord Jesus.
Our Lord came to this earth and does not tolerate all those in the world who are proud and do not fear God. God judges all of these kinds of people by putting them down. In answer to what He who became the Savior of the world did after He came, our Lord never just passes over those who are proud because they are rich or who are adamant that they will never become an orphan or widow. God judges and curses people who boast of themselves without God, those who do not acknowledge God even though they are His creations, and those who say they’re fine without God because they are rich in materials and mundane things.
Then, for whom did Jesus Christ come to this world? He came to save those who are really poor and lowly and those whose hearts are humble. That means that the Lord who came to save this world came to save the lowly people of the world. He came to save the poor, those who feared God, and the humble. The Lord regards with pity those who regard others with pity, and He always judges those who are proud and those who are evil. Jesus, who is the Savior who saved this world, regards with compassion those who should be regarded thus, regards with pity those who should be regarded with pity, and judges those who need to be judged. He is Jesus Christ who came to save the world.
Brothers and sisters, do you believe that the Savior who came to the world is Jesus Christ? It is truly amazing grace that He came to this earth. The Lord did not come to save one or two people; He came to save this world. The Lord who came to save this world is the God of power. He did not come to just save you and me; He came to save all the people of this world. Jesus Christ is the Person who came to save mankind that had fallen into the sins of Satan and were struggling there.
He came to save all the people of the world like that, but there are people who do not believe in Him. There are people who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ. There are people who are that proud. But the Person who will judge these kinds of people is also Jesus. He is God. Jesus Christ is our Savior who made us the people of God by letting us be born again and who saved us personally. He came to this earth and did all these things Himself. Brothers and sisters, our Lord came to the hearts of people who are poor and lowly and people who are humble and know how to fear God, and He became their Savior.
Jesus Christ was born in a small village called Bethlehem when Herod was the king of Judea and Augustus Caesar was the emperor of Rome. He was born in a shabby manger where animals dwelt because there was no room at the time in the inn. The Savior who came to save this world was born in the lowliest place; a manger where animals were fed and slept. However, many people of that time, just like people today, were not pleased with Jesus Christ. Those who were proud were especially not pleased with Him and did not accept Him as their Savior. They judged by outward appearances Jesus Christ who sincerely came to save their souls from sin, and they did not receive Him.
Brothers and sisters, how did Jesus Christ deal with people who were proud like this? Yes, He drove them away. Jesus Christ comes to the hearts of the lowly and becomes their Savior. The Lord comes to people who are dirty with sin, have nothing to boast of, and sincerely wait for the Savior who will consider their lowliness. He came to save people in this world who are in bondage, mistreated, and have no hope. Jesus Christ never comes to those who are rich in material things or can live without God because they are great as to things of the world. Even if the Lord has come to them, they do not receive Him.
Luke 2 says that Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room in the inn. Just as He was not born in a glittery and magnificent place, Jesus Christ can never enter the hearts of people who, in His eyes, are great and wealthy in spirit. He cannot become their Savior. Jesus came as the Savior of all people in the world, but they do not accept Him as their Savior, and they reject Him. So, Jesus Christ became the Savior of people who are especially lowly in this world. He became the Savior of the poor and of people who long for God and ask for His help. Everyone who lives in this world, no matter who they are, come to meet Jesus Christ who is God without fail if they acknowledge Him, long for Him, and seek Him. Jesus Christ is the Person who saves from sin those who follow and believe in Him.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ who is our Savior came to this earth and saved lowly people. Therefore, we must give thanks and praise as we admit that we were born as lowly people, have nothing good, and have nothing of which to be proud. Likewise, if we were proud, as if we had become someone who was great, even though we were lowly, we may reject Jesus Christ if He came to us. But you and I give thanks to God that the Lord came to you and me, was born in our hearts, and made us His people because we are really lowly people in this world, and because we know that fact. Is that true or not? It surely is.
Brothers and sisters, we must also give thanks for the fact that we were not born into homes of people who have seized power on this earth. Those kinds of people are all lowly in the eyes of God. But if they have just a little earthly power or are rich, they become proud and nothing fazes them. Brothers and sisters, it is easy for the son of the president to reject Jesus Christ by ultimately becoming proud because the honor of being the son of the president, and the power measured by the world is attached to him. There are many people that reject Jesus by ludicrously claiming to be descendants of the champions of independence, sons of generals, and grandchildren of generals. On the contrary we must give thanks that we do not have those kinds of famous people in our families. Are there many famous people in your families? Brothers and sisters, famous people’s families continuously reference their fame until they go to hell. So, we must give thanks that there is no one like that among our close relatives. Mankind becomes very proud by even the smallest things. Jesus came to this world to save it, but all people do not receive Him.
But the lowly people among them did. People who realized that they were really lowly received the Lord. People poor in spirit received Jesus Christ. But, brothers and sisters, who is it talking of here when it speaks of proud people? It says the rich, but which ones? People who are satisfied even without God are the proud and the rich. These people are abandoned. Brothers and sisters, could we be satisfied without God, no matter how much we had? Brothers and sisters, we are not rich. We are nothing if we don’t have God. When we think about it, we are nothing. It seems that life is wonderful and something has become important, but a life without God is really nothing. A life that has not received the remission of sins is something that really has absolutely no value.
Brothers and sisters, we must give thanks for the Lord saving us who are really nothing in this world. There is no need to be jealous of the things seen in the world or to think they are important. No matter how much of the things of the world one has, they are ultimately nothing. The honor of the world is nothing; the wealth of the world is nothing; the proud people who seem to have the whole world are nothing, and the power of the world is nothing.
Brothers and sisters, people are puffed up at being elected once as just a member of a provincial assembly. The son of a provincial assemblyman is likewise puffed up. It is even easy to become proud of the trivial power of merely becoming the son of a chief of a village office, the head of the subdivision of a city’s district, or the son of a neighborhood association. When Jesus, the Savior of this world, comes to their hearts and knocks, they reject Him, saying, “I’m OK. Why did you come? Please don’t come in.” They do not accept Him but fall into pride and reject Him, even though they only have a little honor and power. Brothers and sisters, they reject Jesus even by thinking they are only a little rich. If they have a lot of possessions and have high status, their hearts become proud and they reject Jesus. Worse yet, people who believe in Jesus and those who have been born again also become proud if they have a few possessions, and they lose all heart when even just a little is gone. We see many instances of people being tossed back and forth on the waves of material possessions.
Anyway, mankind is that kind of existence. But the Lord is the Person who came as all those people’s Savior. Our Lord came to save this whole world that has a lot of sins. Jesus Christ came to save all the people of this world, but most people don’t receive Him. I can’t explain how thankful I am when I think of the fact that our Lord came to save us. It is truly the grace of God for us to give thanks for this. If the Savior had not come, how could you and I have been able to receive salvation? How can you put on airs? Brothers and sisters, how could we be full of joy and shout like this? How could we laugh? If not for Him, how could eternal life be guaranteed to us? Brothers and sisters, how could we be liberated from sin? We were able to obtain liberation from sin because Jesus Christ came to this earth. Since Jesus who is the Savior came, eliminated our sins, and saved us from them, the wiles of Satan and damnation, we can laugh, can be truly thankful, and can live peacefully. Since the Savior came to this world, we have now become the people of God. I hope that you all give thanks before God.
We must truly give thanks. You and I are no different than the people of the world and are just lowly. Jesus Christ came to us who are like this and saved us. Brothers and sisters, what is there for us to be proud of besides Jesus Christ? Do we have anything we are great at or anything to be noble for? Brothers and sisters, do we have any wonderful person, goodness, or refinement other than Jesus Christ? No, we don’t. Only Jesus Christ who came to this world as the Savior is a Person perfectly commendable, good, and refined. Brothers and sisters, if we truly know Jesus Christ, we can quickly know that we are nothing. If He had not come to this world as the Savior, this world would be hell. If the Savior had not come to you and me, there would probably be a lot of people who would have died because they could not endure. Only Jesus Christ who came to this world is a truly commendable Person, a refined Person, and the Person who is truly the God of love. Mankind is really lowly. If you think about it, we are all lowly and poor. Who is there among us who is truly rich? Who is there that is great? There is no one. Brothers and sisters, Jesus is the Savior of us who are like this. We must think for a moment if there is truly anything we have that is great before the Lord, abandon our pride, and give thanks to Him.
Brothers and sisters, while Mary was praising the Lord, she called herself a lowly maidservant. Aren’t you and I this kind of lowly person? Brothers and sisters, Jesus came to this world as the Savior and put down the rich and those who had power. He saved the poor and lowly. Aren’t you and I lowly and poor? Aren’t we truly poor in body and spirit in the world? We cannot forget the fact that our Lord saved people who are lowly like this. We have not received salvation for being great. The Lord regarded us with pity and saved us. He saved us from our lowliness, exalted us, and sat us in seats of glory because we are so lowly. Since God is a glorious Person and we are, on the contrary, really lowly, He did that to us through love. If we were great people in this world, if you and I were people who were bold before others and had great things, we would not have accepted the Lord even if He came to our hearts. Since you and I were existences that were nothing, we could humbly receive the Lord because of the fact that He saved us. We must praise the Lord who came to this world as the Savior. Is that right or not? Do not put on airs.
We are existences that are nothing. Dear fellow believers! Don’t try to have a lot of power in the world. I am afraid you will be driven out of the presence of the Lord. Power itself doesn’t matter to you. People can truly be humble who know God even though they have power. But people who are not like that are proud. Those kinds of people are driven out by the Lord.
We must give thanks in sincere humility to the Lord who saved us. We must give praise to the Lord who came to this world as our Savior. I once more give thanks and praise to Jesus Christ who came to this world as the Lord and Savior.