Week #128; Wed, Jun 10: Mark 15:1–Luke 3:38

CHAPTER OBSERVATIONS:

Mark 15:1, I. Jesus Delivered to Pilate; II. Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified; III. Jesus is Mocked; IV. The Crucifixion; V. The Death of Jesus; VI. Jesus is Buried

I. KEY TEXT (Jesus Delivered to Pilate): “And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole Council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate.” (15:1)
A. INFERENCE: “And Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?'” (15:2)
1. FINDINGS: “And he answered him, ‘You have said so.'” (15:2)
2. CRITERIA: “And the chief priests accused him of many things.” (15:3)
3. CONDITION: “And Pilate again asked him, ‘Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.'” (15:4)
4. CAUSE: “But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.” (15:5)
5. EFFECT: “The thought that no one ever was so shamefully treated, as the only perfectly wise, holy, and excellent Person that ever appeared on earth, leads the serious mind to strong views of man’s wickedness and enmity to God. Let us more and more abhor the evil dispositions which marked the conduct of these persecutors.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Happy is the man who shares Christ’s cross!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified): “Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.” (15:6-7)
A. INFERENCE: “And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.” (15:8-10)
1. FINDINGS: “But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?'” (15:11-12)
2. CRITERIA: “And they cried out again, ‘Crucify him.’ And Pilate said to them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him.'” (15:13-14)
3. CONDITION: “So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.” (15:15)
4. CAUSE: “Christ met death in its greatest terror. It was the death of the vilest malefactors. Thus the cross and the shame are put together. God having been dishonored by the sin of man, Christ made satisfaction by submitting to the greatest disgrace human nature could be loaded with. It was a cursed death; thus it was branded by the Jewish law, Deuteronomy 21:23.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Shall I indulge anger, or utter reproaches and threats because of troubles and injuries?” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “But let us judge persons and things by their merits, and not prejudge by common fame and the cry of the country.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

III. KEY TEXT (Jesus is Mocked): “And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him.” (15:16-19)
A. INFERENCE: “And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him.” (15:20)
1. FINDINGS: “And they led him out to crucify him.” (15:20)
2. CRITERIA: “The place where our Lord Jesus was crucified, was called the place of a skull; it was the common place of execution; for he was in all respects numbered with the transgressors. Whenever we look unto Christ crucified, we must remember what was written over his head; he is a King, and we must give up ourselves to be his subjects, as Israelites indeed. They crucified two thieves with him, and him in the midst; they thereby intended him great dishonor. But it was foretold that he should be numbered with the transgressors, because he was made sin for us.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “With what earnestness will the man who firmly believes the truth, as made known by the sufferings of Christ, seek for salvation! With what gratitude will he receive the dawning hope of forgiveness and eternal life, as purchased for him by the sufferings and death of the Son of God! and with what godly sorrow will he mourn over the sins which crucified the Lord of glory!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Christ was not really forsaken, but as our Redeemer he passed under the dark shadow of human sin. The access to the Holy of Holies is now forever free through the entry of our great High Priest.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Our Lord Jesus dying as a sacrifice for the sins of many, he fell a sacrifice to the rage of many.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Know that Christ was not really forsaken. (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (The Crucifixion): “And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.” (15:21)
A. INFERENCE: “And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.” (15:22-23)
1. FINDINGS: “And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.'” (15:24-26)
2. CRITERIA: “And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuilt it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” (15:27-30)
3. CONDITION: “So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.” (15:31-32)
4. CAUSE: “In that famous prediction of Christ’s sufferings (Isa. 53:12), it was foretold that he should be numbered with the transgressors.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “They challenged him to come down from the cross, if he could.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Give thanks to God that we know that Christ was not really forsaken; He would rise again and be seen by many before he ascended.

V. KEY TEXT (The Death of Jesus): “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” (15:33)
A. INFERENCE: “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ And some of the bystanders hearing it said, ‘Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” (15:34-36)
1. FINDINGS: “And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.” (15:37)
2. CRITERIA: “And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!'” (15:38-39)
3. CONDITION: “There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.” (15:40-41)
4. CAUSE: Mission accomplished; Jesus faithfully followed His Father’s plan. He did not lose any of the sheep entrusted to Him.
5. EFFECT: “The confidence with which Christ had openly addressed God as his Father, and committed his soul into his hands, seems greatly to have affected the centurion. Right views of Christ crucified will reconcile the believer to the thought of death; he longs to behold, love, and praise, as he ought, that Savior who was wounded and pierced to save him from the wrath to come.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be counted among His sheep by believing Jesus is Lord.

VI. KEY TEXT (Jesus is Buried): “And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.” (15:42-43)
A. INFERENCE: “Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.” (15:44-45)
1. FINDINGS: “And Joseph brought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.” (15:46-47)
2. CRITERIA: “Pilate gave Joseph leave to take down the body, and do what he pleased with it. Some of the women beheld where Jesus was laid, that they might come after the Sabbath to anoint the dead body, because they had not time to do it before.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Special notice was taken of Christ’s sepulcher, because he was to rise again. And he will not forsake those who trust in him, and call upon him. Death, deprived of its sting, will soon end the believer’s sorrows, as it ended those of the Savior.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “This man God raised up for his service. There was a special providence, that Pilate should be so strict in his inquiry, that there might be no pretense to say Jesus was alive. Pilate gave Joseph leave to take down the body, and do what he pleased with it.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “And how good to see that God cares for the body as well as for the spirit of His beloved!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Our meditations on Christ’s burial should lead us to think of our own, and should help to make the grave familiar to us.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

Mark 16:1, I. The Resurrection; II. Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene; III. Jesus Appears to Two Disciples; IV. The Great Commission

I. KEY TEXT: (The Resurrection): “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb? And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back–it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, ‘So not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'” (16:1-7)
A. INFERENCE: “And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (16:8-9)
1. FINDINGS: “. . . the stone had been rolled back.” (16:4)
2. CRITERIA: “Nicodemus brought a large quantity of spices, but these good women did not think that enough. The respect others show to Christ, should not hinder us from showing our respect. And those who are carried by holy zeal, to seek Christ diligently, will find the difficulties in their way speedily vanish. When we put ourselves to trouble and expense, from love to Christ, we shall be accepted, though our endeavors are not successful. The sight of the angel might justly have encouraged them, but they were affrighted. Thus many times that which should be matter of comfort to us, through our own mistake, proves a terror to us.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “He was crucified, but he is glorified. He is risen, he is not here, not dead, but alive again; hereafter you will see him, but you may here see the place where he was laid. Thus seasonable comforts will be sent to those that lament after the Lord Jesus.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “In the dim light the women brave the dangers of an Eastern city and hasten to the grave. How often we seek Christ in the grave of old experiences or of dead and empty rites; and how often we cherish fears for which there is no occasion!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.” (16:7)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Search web for: “Ain’t No Grave, Belleview Baptist Church” or click this link, Ain’t No Grave

II. KEY TEXT: (Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene): “Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.” (16:9-11)
A. INFERENCE: “Better news cannot be brought to disciples in tears, than to tell them of Christ’s resurrection. And we should study to comfort disciples that are mourners, by telling them whatever we have seen of Christ. It was a wise providence that the proofs of Christ’s resurrection were given gradually, and admitted cautiously, that the assurance with which the apostles preached this doctrine afterwards might the more satisfy.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “The ministry of Galilee and Jerusalem is at an end, but the spirit of the Master goes forth to new victories in the Acts of the Apostles.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Let us keep our eyes fixed on the risen Christ sitting at the right hand of God, and believe that he is ever working by our side and confirming our words, Heb. 2:4.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Yet how slowly do we admit the consolations which the word of God holds forth! Therefore while Christ comforts his people, he often sees it needful to rebuke and correct them for hardness of heart in distrusting his promise, as well as in not obeying his holy precepts.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Had they believed the frequent predictions of it from his own mouth, they would not have been now so incredulous of the report of it (by Mary Magdalene)” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “The closer we are joined to Christ, the sooner we may expect to see him, and the more to see of him.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Better news cannot be brought to disciples in tears, than to tell them of Christ’s resurrection.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

III. KEY TEXT (Jesus Appears to Two Disciples): “After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.” (16:12-13)”
A. INFERENCE: “He is here said to have appeared to them in another form, in another dress than what he usually wore.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
1. FINDINGS: “These two witnesses gave their testimony to this proof of Christ’s resurrection; they returned and reported it to the rest. ” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “Being satisfied themselves, they were desirous to give their brothers the satisfaction they had, that they might be comforted as they were.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “This did not gain credit with all; they did not believe them either.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Now there was a wise providence in it, that the proofs of Christ’s resurrection were given in gradually, and admitted cautiously.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “We have the more reason to believe those who did themselves believe so slowly: had the swallowed it quickly, they might have been thought credulous, and their testimony the less to be taken seriously; but their disbelieving at first, shows that they did not believe it afterward but with full conviction.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Believe.

IV. KEY TEXT (The Great Commission): “Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (16:14-15)
A. INFERENCE: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (16:16-18)
1. FINDINGS: “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.” (16:19-20)
2. CRITERIA: “After the Lord had spoken he went up into heaven. Sitting is a posture of rest, he had finished his work; and a posture of rule, he took possession of his kingdom. He sat at the right hand of God, which denotes his sovereign dignity and universal power.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Thus far they had been sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and were forbidden to go into the way of the Gentiles, or into any city of the Samaritans; but now they are authorized to go into all the world, and to preach the good news of Christ to all creation, to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews; to every human creature that is capable of receiving it.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “These eleven men could not themselves preach it to all the world, much less to all creation; but they and the other disciples, with those who should afterward be added to them, must disperse themselves several ways, and, wherever they went, carry the gospel along with them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “They must make it the business of their lives to send this good news up and down the world with all possible faithfulness and care, not as an amusement or entertainment, but as a solemn message from God to men, and an appointed means of making men happy.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Set before the world life and death, good and evil. Now go and tell them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

Luke 1:1, I. Dedication to Theophilus; II. Birth of John the Baptist Foretold; III. Birth of Jesus Foretold; IV. Mary Visits Elizabeth; V. Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat; VI. Zechariah’s Prophecy

I. KEY TEXT (Dedication to Theophilus): “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 seems 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.” (1:1-4)
A. INFERENCE: “Luke will not write of things about which Christians may safely differ from one another, and hesitate within themselves; but the things which are, and ought to be surely believed.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “The doctrine of Christ is what the wisest and best of men have ventured their souls upon with confidence and satisfaction. And the great events whereon our hopes depend, have been recorded by those who were from the beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, and who were perfected in their understanding of them through Divine inspiration.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “That our Lord should come into our race under special and supernatural conditions was as it should have been; but the historicity of this story largely rests on the careful investigations of “the beloved physician,” who was authenticated by Paul.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Luke was moved by the Holy Spirit to write this gospel.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “To give honour to them to whom honour is due.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “That the things he wrote of were things that were most surely believed among us, and therefore things which they ought to be instructed in. He will not write about things of dubious authenticity, but the things which are, and ought to be, most surely believed.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “When things are written in order, we know better where to find them for our own use, and how to keep them for the benefit of others.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

II. KEY TEXT (Birth of John the Baptist Foretold): “In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” (1:5-7)
A. INFERENCE: “Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been 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 before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (1:8-15)
1. FINDINGS: “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will 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 for the Lord a people prepared.” (1:16-17)
2. CRITERIA: “And Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.'” (1:18)
3. CONDITION: “And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.” (1:19)
4. CAUSE: “And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.'” (1:20)
5. EFFECT: “And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.'” (1:21-25)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Expect the unexpected by faith.

III. KEY TEXT (Birth of Jesus Foretold): “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in you womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.'” (1:26-33)
A. INFERENCE: “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?'” (1:34)
1. FINDINGS: “And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.'” (1:35-37)
2. CRITERIA: “And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (1:38)
3. CONDITION: “Christ must be born miraculously. The angel’s address means only, Hail, thou that art the especially chosen and favored of the Most High, to attain the honor Jewish mothers have so long desired.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The angel then assured her that she had found favor with God, and would become the mother of a son whose name she should call Jesus, the Son of the Highest, one in a nature and perfection with the Lord God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Were we convinced of the huge mass of guilt that lies upon us, and the wrath that hangs over us for it, ready to fall upon us, it would be our continual thought, Is the Savior mine?” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Expect the unexpected by faith.

IV. KEY TEXT (Mary Visits Elizabeth): “In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (1:39-42)
A. INFERENCE: “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.'” (1:43-45)
1. FINDINGS: “It is very good for those who have the work of grace begun in their souls, to communicate one to another. On Mary’s arrival, Elisabeth was conscious of the approach of her who was to be the mother of the great Redeemer. At the same time she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and under his influence declared that Mary and her expected child were most blessed and happy, as peculiarly honored of and dear to the Most High God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Mary, animated by Elisabeth’s address, and being also under the influence of the Holy Ghost, broke out into joy, admiration, and gratitude. She knew herself to be a sinner who needed a Savior, and that she could no otherwise rejoice in God than as interested in his salvation through the promised Messiah. Those who see their need of Christ, and are desirous of righteousness and life in him, he fills with good things, with the best things; and they are abundantly satisfied with the blessings he gives.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Zacharias lived in a Levitical city in the hill country of Judah. The narrative evidently implies that there had been no previous communication between the two women of what had happened. In their greeting both were led and taught of the Spirit.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Evidently Mary was living in close familiarity with the Scriptures. Often she had been deeply moved by their radiant promises, and had pleaded that God would at last help His people and send the Savior. Now that this blessing had come to her, she voiced her thanks, not only under the express inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but in the familiar expressions of Scripture.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Mary breaks out in a song of praise.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Praise the Lord.

IV. KEY TEXT (Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat): “And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of the 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 the fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.'” (1:46-55)
A. INFERENCE: “And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.” (1:56)
1. FINDINGS: “This song is called the Magnificat, that being the first word in the Latin version. Wonder and praise, humility and exultation, adoration and congratulation-these colors chase one another in the heart of this jewel.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “We may suppose the blessed virgin to come in, very much fatigued with her journey; yet she forgets that, and is inspired with new life, and vigor, and joy, on the confirmation she here meets with of her faith” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Here are the expressions of joy and praise, and God alone the object of the praise and center of the joy.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Her spirit rejoiced in the Lord, because of the kind things he had done for her.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “In him mercy is settled upon all who fear God, pardoning mercy, healing mercy, accepting mercy, crowning mercy, from generation to generation.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Those in whose hearts Christ is formed take more delight than they used to do in sitting alone and keeping silent.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

V. KEY TEXT (The Birth of John the Baptist): “Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, ‘No; he shall be called John.’ And they said to her, ‘None of your relatives is called by this name.’ And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wore, ‘His name is John.'” (1:57-63)
A. INFERENCE: “And they all wondered.” (1:63)
1. FINDINGS: “And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. ” (1:64)
2. CRITERIA: “And fear came on all the neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, ‘What then will this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.” (1:65-66)
3. CONDITION: “He shall be called Johanan, or “Gracious,” because he shall bring in the gospel of Christ, wherein God’s grace shines most bright. Zacharias recovered his speech. Unbelief closed his mouth, and believing opened it again: he believes, therefore he speaks. When God opens our lips, our mouths must show forth his praise; and better be without speech, than not use it in praising God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: Zechariah lost his speech due to unbelief.
5. EFFECT: Zechariah regained his speech by following God’s will.
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We should observe the dealings of God, and wait the event.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

VI. KEY TEXT (Zechariah’s Prophecy): “And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesized, saying, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raided up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (1:67-79)
A. INFERENCE: “And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” (1:80)
1. FINDINGS: “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (1:76-79)
2. CRITERIA: “Zacharias uttered a prophecy concerning the kingdom and salvation of the Messiah. The gospel brings light with it; in it the day dawns. In John the Baptist it began to break, and increased apace to the perfect day. The gospel is discovering; it shows that about which we were utterly in the dark; it is to give light to those that sit in darkness, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It is reviving; it brings light to those that sit in the shadow of death, as condemned prisoners in the dungeon. It is directing; it is to guide our feet in the way of peace, into that way which will bring us to peace at last, Romans 3:17.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “John gave proofs of strong faith, vigorous and holy affection, and of being above the fear and love of the world. Thus he ripened for usefulness; but he lived a retired life, till he came forward openly as the forerunner of the Messiah.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Let us follow peace with all men, as well as seek peace with God and our own consciences. And if it be the will of God that we live unknown to the world, still let us diligently seek to grow strong in the grace of Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Has the “dayspring from on high” visited our hearts and are our feet walking in the way of peace?” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Know that the promised salvation is for our rescue from malice; it is our restoration to the favor of God; and it is a qualification for, and an encouragement to, the service of God” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

Luke 2:1, I. The Birth of Jesus Christ; II. The Shepherds and the Angels; III. Jesus Presented at the Temple; IV. The Return to Nazareth; V. The Boy Jesus in the Temple

I. KEY TEXT (The Birth of Jesus Christ): “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and linage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.” (2:1-5)
A. INFERENCE: “And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (2:6-7)
1. FINDINGS: “The fullness of time was now come, when God would send forth his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law. The circumstances of his birth were very mean. Christ was born at an inn; he came into the world to sojourn here for awhile, as at an inn, and to teach us to do likewise.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “We are become by sin like an outcast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one was Christ. He well knew how unwilling we are to be meanly lodged, clothed, or fed; how we desire to have our children decorated and indulged; how apt the poor are to envy the rich, and how prone the rich to disdain the poor.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “But when we by faith view the Son of God being made man and lying in a manger, our vanity, ambition, and envy are checked. We cannot, with this object rightly before us, seek great things for ourselves or our children.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The manger bed and its precious occupant are among the most cherished memories of our childhood; but as we come there in later life, the wonder ever grows. “Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh,” 1 Timothy 3:16.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “What company we meet there! Shepherds with their naïve wonder; angels from the realms of glory; wise men with their gifts; aged saints like Simeon and Anna, Surely the desire of all nations is here! Let us ask that the Lord of glory will condescend to be born in the mean stable of our heart, transforming it into a palace!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “What can He not do for us and His Church!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (The Shepherds and the Angels): “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.” (2:8-9)
A. INFERENCE: “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.'” (2:10-12)
1. FINDINGS: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'” (2:13-14)
2. CRITERIA: “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” (2:15-16)
3. CONDITION: “And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” (2:17-18)
4. CAUSE: “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (2:19-21)
5. EFFECT: “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (2:21)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Note that just as Jesus was named before he was conceived, our names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life since before the foundation of the world.

III. KEY TEXT (Jesus Presented at the Temple): “And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.'” (2:22-24)
A. INFERENCE: “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,” (2:25-28)
1. FINDINGS: “‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.'” (2:29-32)
2. CRITERIA: “And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.'” (2:33-35)
3. CONDITION: “And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (2:36-38)
4. CAUSE: The Law of the Lord. (2:24)
5. EFFECT: “And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.” (2:39-40)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Those to whom Christ is made known, have great reason to thank the Lord.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

V. KEY TEXT: (The Boy Jesus in the Temple) “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.” (2:41-45)
A. INFERENCE: “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (2:46-47)
1. FINDINGS: “And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.’ And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (2:48-49)
2. CRITERIA: “And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” (2:50-51)
3. CONDITION: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (2:52)
4. CAUSE: “Those that would recover their lost acquaintance with Christ, must go to the place in which he has put his name; there they may hope to meet him. They found him in some part of the temple, where the doctors of the law kept their schools; he was sitting there, hearkening to their instructions, proposing questions, and answering inquiries, with such wisdom, that those who heard were delighted with him.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The greatest and wisest, those most eminent, may learn of this admirable and Divine Child, that it is the truest greatness of soul to know our own place and office; to deny ourselves amusements and pleasures not consistent with our state and calling.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Other children show the corruption of their nature; nothing but the grace of God was upon him.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Luke 3:1, I. John the Baptist Prepares the Way; II. The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

I. KEY TEXT: (John the Baptist Prepares the Way) “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” (3:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (3:3)
1. FINDINGS: “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” (3:4-6)
2. CRITERIA: “He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (3:7-9)
3. CONDITION: “And the crowds asked him, ‘What then shall we do?’ And he answered them, ‘Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise. Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, ‘Teacher, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Collect no more than you are authorized to do.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what shall we do? And he said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.'” (3:10-14)
4. CAUSE: “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, ‘I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.'” (3:15-17)
5. EFFECT: “So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'” (3:21-22)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Listen for the voice of God.

II. KEY TEXT: (The Genealogy of Jesus Christ) “Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” (3:23-38)
A. INFERENCE: “Matthew’s list of the forefathers of Jesus showed that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and heir to the throne of David; but Luke shows that Jesus was the Seed of the woman that should break the serpent’s head, and traces the line up to Adam, beginning with Eli, or Heli, the father, not of Joseph, but of Mary.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “The seeming differences between the two evangelists in these lists of names have been removed by learned men. But our salvation does not depend upon our being able to solve these difficulties, nor is the Divine authority of the Gospels at all weakened by them.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “The list of names ends thus, “Who was the son of Adam, the son of God;” that is, the offspring of God by creation. Christ was both the son of Adam and the Son of God, that he might be a proper Mediator between God and the sons of Adam, and might bring the sons of Adam to be, through him, the sons of God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “All flesh, as descended from the first Adam, is as grass, and withers as the flower of the field; but he who partakes of the Holy Spirit of life from the Second Adam, has that eternal happiness, which by the gospel is preached unto us.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: ““The word of God came unto John the Baptist… and he came.” That is the true order. Get your message and then come. It is often in the wilderness of life that God’s words find us. The man who is going to master men must first master the appetites of his own body. If you seek popularity, you will lose it; if you seek to do God’s will, men will almost certainly come to find you.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Souls require a clear pane of glass, when they look out on the infinite expanse of the sky! Be real!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Live at first-hand with eternal truth! Fear not the face of man!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

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