3rd Sunday of Advent – Sermon 137

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



All who heard the story –w ere deeply impressed – and said – ‘What will this child become for indeed the hand of God is upon him.’

The arrival of a child is a time of great news and great Joy –

The kind of Joy that transforms lives –

In our NT lesson Luke describes the story of the naming of a child – from a couple who never expected – to be blessed with such a gift –

For the family – it was a time of shear wonder – for the world it was the start of a series of sensational events that would lead to the opening of a way to salvation for the whole of mankind –


Point 1 


Luke begins his Gospel with sensational news –

For over 400 years – prophecy had been silent – but now it was time for the prophetic voice – to burst out again –

A new voice would come on the scene – one that would pave the way for an even greater voice to come –

God was about to break through Israel’s darkness with a powerful light – and He was to use the most unlikeliest people – to do it – this elderly, childless couple – and a teenage girl – engaged to a peasant carpenter

God is acting at last – finally doing what He promised all those centuries before

Sending a new David – His Son Jesus Christ – – and with Him a prophet – who would go ahead and prepare the way – ‘the way of Holiness’ –

In the words of Isaiah:

‘Let the wilderness and parched land be glad – says Isaiah –
Let the desert rejoice – and burst into flower –

For- these will see – the glory of the Lord and the splendour of God –

To the anxious – ‘ be strong- fear not – for your God comes to save you’

A causeway will appear – it will be called the way of Holiness’

‘By that way- those the Lord has redeemed- will return’

The Lord’s people will be set free – will come back and enter Zion with shouts of triumph- crowned with everlasting Joy’

Zechariah and Elisabeth weren’t expecting any of this – they were simple devout people – going about their regular business – keeping the law as a sign of grateful devotion to God –

Like all priests – except the chief priest – Zechariah would only come into the city when it was his turn to perform the regular Temple liturgy – and it was on one such occasion – he was told by Angel Gabriel – that all this would happen – and it would be his son John – who will be that prophet –

Zechariah’s doubts – not least because of Elizabeth’s age – and his need for a sign – resulted in him being struck dumb –

And he was only – released from – it when he finally accepted what had been foretold – and agreed to naming his son John –

This break with tradition – in front of all his family – was confirmation that – this child – would not follow in his fathers’ footsteps – but follow the path – chosen for him by God –

As Isaiah had foretold –

John’s Spiritual growth and development was to take place – in the desert – and – its from the desert that God’s pathway will emerge – and be established-

For Zechariah – the release from the nine months silence – became a new sign – and in the following verses He openly praises God – and reconfirms the prophecy given to him – of what his child will become –

The story of Zechariah and Elisabeth and their son John – spread around the countryside – and all were amazed at what had happened and what they heard – and wondered what difference this child who had been blessed by God – would make 



Well today – we know how that story ends – that with God’s help – John fulfilled his ministry – and become one of the greatest of God’s prophets –

This Advent – we too have a story to tell – the story of an arrival of another baby – and the difference He makes to our lives

We are all children of God – and each one of us – a joy and celebration in God’s eyes-

Who knows – maybe – somebody we know will be deeply impressed – and say of us – ‘‘What will this child become for indeed the hand of God is upon him.’


In the Name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit