January 4, 2014

Today you should read: Luke 1:57-66

Zechariah was mute, but he was also deaf

We know this because when asking him about what the baby’s name should be, they had to signal it (v. 62).

This makes things even more amazing because when Elizabeth decides to name him John, Zechariah didn’t hear.  So when they inquired of Zechariah and he said “John” as well, this caused awe to fall on the people, in combination with the fact that he could speak again.

Now, we know that the angel of the Lord told Zechariah to name him John…but what if he didn’t listen?  This sounds like a pretty minute detail.  I mean, it’s a name, right?  Well, not to Zechariah.

His obedience as a father testified to the Lord’s work.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

I think we can take away a simple truth today.  As a man, father, woman, mother, or whoever… our obedience in the small things testifies to the Lord’s larger work.

After this all had happened, the passage says,

“Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills.  Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “what will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.”

Talk spread about the Lord’s work because Zechariah did as the Lord commanded even in the small things.  And as we are obedient in the small things, as the Lord has commanded us, talk about our Lord Jesus…and His coming…will spread.  We will see later that John will indeed be well known, only to make the One known; Jesus.  It was all part of His plan…even from the beginning obedience of Zechariah.

What small area do you need to be obedient in today?

Posted by:Sam Cirrincione


January 3, 2014

Today you should read: Luke 1:39-56

In today’s passage we witness the aftermath of Mary’s great encounter with Gabriel the angel sent from God. He has just told her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive God’s son. As we can imagine this must have been the biggest night of Mary’s life. This little humble and faithful girl from Nazareth was given the most honored task in history. Her head must have been spinning and her heart must have been overjoyed.

The angel also told her that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived a son as well. Elizabeth was old and past her prime to be able to have children. God did this in order to show that nothing is impossible with Him. So the next morning Mary arose and ran to be with Elizabeth. When Mary arrived, John the Baptist, who was in Elizabeth’s womb leaped and the Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth and she exclaimed about the news Mary had received from the angel. This caused Mary to rejoice and sing a song of praise to God.

This is an amazing story but you may be asking yourself, “How does this story apply to my life?” There are a couple of things that I think we should take away.

1. God is always faithful to his promises. Not only does God bring about His promise to Mary and Elizabeth but the events that are happening to them are just by products of a bigger promise to mankind. Mary understood this when she proclaimed in her song, “He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance and mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever (v.54-55). God promised that through Abraham he would bring a great nation and through that nation he would bring a savior who would restore his people (Genesis 12:2, Luke 1:32-33).

You and I should remember that we are a part of this Story. Because Christ came we now have reason to rejoice. For those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus as Lord we are now called sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:4-5).

2. Our response to the news of the birth of Jesus should be worship toward our savior.
Mary understood the magnitude of her situation. Not only had God blessed her but he was coming to fulfill his covenant with Israel. He activated the great rescue plan through Mary but the whole world would be changed forever. John 3:17 puts it best, “For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” If this is your story and you have been saved through a relationship with Christ then rejoice today. If you are reading this and you have not come into that relationship then I urge you to place your faith in Jesus.

Posted by:Chad Wiles

January 2, 2014

Today you should read: Luke 1:26-38

Of all the crazy things that have happened in the history of our world, this story contained in Luke 1:26-38 has to be tied for the #1 craziest thing to happen.  It’s tied with the occurrence of Jesus being raised from the dead, and ranked slightly ahead of things like a talking donkey and a flooded earth.

You might know this section of Luke by memory, especially since we are just beyond the Christmas season.  The story of Mary, the virgin, becoming pregnant is difficult to conceive (no pun intended).  Think about how crazy and wild it is that this young lady became pregnant without any type of “Song of Solomon activities.”

You know, if I am honest, when I think about this story, I get all caught up in fact that Mary became pregnant as a virgin.  Don’t get me wrong.  Mary’s conception is a huge deal, but, guess what?  That’s not even the greatest part of the story.  The greatest part of the story is Whom she was about to carry in her womb for nine months.  She was going to be carrying the Savior of the world, Immanuel, the Messiah, the Christ, the Redeemer, the Lamb of God, the Light of the world, the Lord!

I know most of our readers know this, but I’ll make this point anyway.  When Mary became pregnant and eventually gave birth to Christ, this was not the beginning of Jesus.  Some people believe that Jesus came into existence when he was birthed.  The fact is that He already existed.  He has existed eternally, but His conception and birth began His earthly existence in human form.  His coming to earth fulfilled the promise of God that a Redeemer would come and reign over the house of Jacob forever.  It would be a kingdom that has no end (vs. 33-34).

So, how can we apply this passage today?  One way is to sit and ponder on the magnificence of the story contained in our passage today.  Marvel at the fact that a virgin became pregnant.  You may find yourself in awe of God.  You may find yourself in wonder.  You may find yourself frustrated by being unable to explain the physiology how Mary became pregnant.  When you find yourself having these thoughts, remind yourself of verse 37 and the fact that nothing is impossible with God.  Then, bow in worship of the Father who is all-powerful and incomprehensible, the One who sent our Savior onto our earth to rescue our souls!

Posted by:Rich Duffield

January 1, 2014

Today you should read: Luke 1:1-25

Isn’t amazing how Jesus changes everything? When we end the Old Testament, it still seems that salvation is from and for the Jewish people. But when the God-man enters the scene, He turns over that paradigm and shows us that He is about saving people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. The sheer fact that Luke wrote one of the books of the Bible shows the changes Jesus made: Luke is a gentile doctor, not a Jew. Luke’s gospel, in its very writing, shows hope for all of mankind.

Luke’s perspective in his gospel — and in Acts — is more detailed than many other Biblical authors. This seems to flow with his profession: doctor. When you read some his accounts, you can’t help but notice the intricate nature of his writing. That’s why this is a good book for us to kick off with in the new year. It’s not time for general, etherial truth. 2014, for CPC, can be about deep, careful study of the timeless treasures of God.

The first section of Luke 1 gives us helpful information. It tells us who this is written to: Theophilus, a student of the teachings of Jesus who needed his knowledge to be affirmed. When I read verses 3-4, I get a picture of the kind of heart God wants me to have: a heart that yearns to know God and His word.

The passage then moves to the birth of John the Baptist to Elizabeth and Zechariah. What incredible parents he would have! 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 (Luke 1:6-7). God answered their prayers and gave them a son… and not just any son. He was a locust-and-wild-honey eating, godly forerunner to Jesus. He took his role seriously, and Jesus tells us just how special he was: Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11a)…

If you are new to Jumpstart, I want to encourage you to peek back at one of our first posts and make a firm commitment to God in the new year. We first started JumpstartCPC.com in 2011 as a commitment to the Word as a church. This isn’t about “new year, new me”… it’s about “new year, fresh growth in Christ”. Stay with us on this incredible journey through the Bible. Here’s the Welcome To Jumpstart post I hope you’ll take the time to read.

Posted by: Todd Thomas