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The Scriptorium

The Real World

Luke is a true historian. Luke 1

Luke 1 (7)

Pray Psalm 33.8-12.

Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Sing Psalm 33.8-12.
Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Let all below now fear the Lord; let all in awe of Him abide!
The worlds exist by Jesus’ Word; let all on earth in Him confide.

He nullifies the nations’ plans; forever stands His sov’reign Word.
All they are blessed who with Him stand – the chosen people of the Lord.

Read Luke 1.1-80; meditate on verses 76-80.

1. What would be John’s work?

2. Why was the “Dayspring from on high” coming to visit us?


As we have seen, Luke is a serious historian. He researched his subject assiduously. He surely must have talked with the people who were witnesses to the stories told in chapter 1 and throughout. He provides us a glimpse of the real world in this opening chapter, and it’s not the same world acknowledged by secular historians in our day.

History as Luke understood unfolds according to divine plans and promises, by means and through people He has chosen according to His good and perfect will. Things happen in God’s timing, contrary to the expectations of earth-bound humans, and unto ends which seem unbelievable to most people.

But this is the real world. Created by God, ruled by God, visited by God, redeemed by God, and ultimately to be remade by God according to His will as recorded in His Word. It is a world of sinners and saints, skeptics and servants, politicians and prophets, those who are reprobate and those who are redeemed. It is a world in which salvation dawns like a Dayspring from on high and ancient promises, entrusted to a chosen people, are realized in surprising and powerful ways.

John was the herald of the real world, “to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (v. 79). The real world has made itself known, and we have been born again into it. Let us grow strong in spirit to live that world and proclaim it day by day.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel” (Lk. 1.80). To what end? And for what purpose? Well, as his dad said, “you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God…” (Lk. 1.76-78).

John had a job to do from before his birth. Sound familiar? If it does, it is because that is the same job we have been given since before our own birth: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2.10).

And how in the world were John and we saved to do this work? “Through the tender mercy of our God” (Lk. 1.78).

Zacharias was not the only one to proclaim this saving attribute of God; Mary also spoke of it: “And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Lk. 1.50).

Paul reminded Titus of this great promise while encouraging him to be strong in his work as a pastor: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Tit. 3.4, 5).

In God’s Kingdom, “The Real World”, He has made a way of salvation for us, through the Dayspring, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. And this salvation is an act of tender mercy and grace, by which He demonstrated His amazing love toward us, because Christ died for us when we were still His enemies (Rom. 5.8).

We are gifted with this mercy so that we will be merciful. Jesus taught His followers to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6.12). But besides mercy being a requirement for forgiveness it is also a requirement for our life in general. The prophet Micah wrote that God required His people to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him (Mic. 6.8).

John had a calling. We have a calling. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he fulfilled his, and we will fulfill ours: to go into our Personal Mission Field to give the knowledge of salvation, in and with God’s tender mercy, guiding our feet “into the way of peace” (Lk. 1.79).

For reflection
1. In what ways is our calling like John’s?

2. What should you do each day to prepare for carrying out your calling?

3. What is the mercy of God and why do we need it daily?

Our Lord brought us the true light of recognition of himself and, having taken away the darkness of errors, opened up for us a sure way to heaven. He guided our works so that we may be able to pursue the way of truth that he showed us and enter into the dwelling of everlasting peace, which he promised us. The Venerable Bede (672-735), Homilies on the Gospels 2.20

Pray Psalm 33.18-22.
Thank the Lord for watching over you. Hope in Him and in His steadfast love today. Rejoice in Him and call on Him for grace and strength as you work your Personal Mission Field.

Sing Psalm 33.18-22.
Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God watches those who fear His Name, who hope upon His grace and love.
He keeps their souls from death and shame who trust in Him Who reigns above.

God is our Helper and our Shield; upon us let Your grace descend!
We hope in You; to You we yield; we trust in Jesus to the end.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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