The Gospel Era comprises four books written about the life of Jesus Christ by four authors to four audiences:
- Matthew – He was a former tax collector and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. His message is primarily directed to the Jews.
- Mark – He was a close companion of the apostle Peter and cousin of Barnabas, the famous missionary who traveled with Paul. His audience was the non-Jewish Roman Empire.
- Luke – He was Greek and the only Gentile writer in the Bible. Luke was a trained physician who traveled with Paul on his second missionary campaign. He wrote to the Gentiles.
- John – He was a former fisherman and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He wrote about Jesus Christ to the world.
Before we read the genealogies of Jesus, which show that He is a descendant of King David, a descendant of Judah, and a descendant of Abraham as promised by the Lord, John tells us that Jesus has existed since the beginning – “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
John is letting the reader know that Jesus is the promised Savior from Genesis 3:15 who has been written about throughout the Scriptures. John also reveals that Jesus is the third member of the trinity. Jesus existed before the beginning of creation, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, who was hovering over the waters at the creation (Genesis 1:2).
John says that John the Baptist will come to bear witness of the Light, Jesus Christ, who will very soon arrive on the scene as God in the flesh. John the Baptist’s ministry will point people to Jesus Christ so that they may believe in Him as Lord and Savior and be saved by grace through faith in the Son of God.
“Four hundred years after the last Old Testament book was written, the story of the New Testament begins to unfold, around 6 BC.” (OYCB) The silence is broken when an angel of the Lord appears to the priest Zacharias and tells him that he and his barren wife, Elizabeth, both of whom are well advanced in years, are going to have a son and they shall call him John. John will grow to be John the Baptist, and he will live as a Nazarite (Numbers 6). “He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also 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 a people prepared for the Lord.”
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, an angel appears to Elizabeth’s cousin, the young virgin Mary who was betrothed to Joseph, with a message – “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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.”
Mary questions how this is possible since she is a virgin. The angel explains, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” So Mary responds, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
Tomorrow Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. Keep reading. (Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1-4, John 1:1-18, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38, Luke 1:5-38)