Sunday, March 13, 2011


I shall take Luke as the author of both the gospel by his own name as well as the Acts of the Apostles. In writing his gospel, he recorded an account of God’s visitation to the people of Israel. The word which Luke used can be translated “visit” from Greek, but also makes one think of an older brother or a father coming to make sure his kid brother or son is ok. It means to regard or to inspect. The NT uses a version of this word to speak of “overseer” in the organization of the Church. But the Greek OT also uses this word. God had “visited”, or gave regard to His people long ago, before the time of Luke. Long ago before Ezekiel, David and Samuel. His coming was a big deal for the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt, who, crying out in anguish for many years, likely wondered if the ancient promises to Abraham and his descendants would ever be fulfilled. So when He finally shows up after 400 years or so of enslavement in Exodus 2:24, it is a moment of epic importance. When the people of Israel hear of the Lord’s interaction with Moses and see His signs and wonders, Exodus 4:31 says the people “believed”.  They understood that the Lord “had visited” (ESV) the sons of Israel or “was concerned” (NASB) with them. Finally God had come to free them from their enemies so that they might serve Him without fear. Similarly, Luke records another moment of visitation. When all hope was lost for the sons of Israel, and (as we shall see) for the world, he gathers us in to hear of this climax of moments. According to the opening chapter of Luke, Zechariah the priest prophesied aloud to his hearers: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed His people” (Luke 1:68).  Zechariah’s hope reflects that of the pre-exodus enslaved Israel when he goes on to proclaim the arrival of the “mercy promised to (his) fathers” (Luke 1:72). 

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