Sermon #10                                                          Luke Sermons


          Title:                           “THE HAND


          Text:            Luke 1:57-66

          Subject:       The Birth of John the Baptist

          Date:            Sunday Evening - 1999

          Tape #         V-40b

          Readings:     Office:  Auditorium:



Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.    And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.    And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.    And his mother answered and said, Not [so]; but he shall be called John.    And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.    And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.    And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.    And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue [loosed], and he spake, and praised God.    And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.    And all they that heard [them] laid [them] up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.  (Luke 1:57-66)


          The very last word spoken by God in the Old Testament was a word of promise and prophecy, a promise of mercy and a prophecy of the coming of another Elijah to prepare the way for Christ, the Messiah, our Savior.


Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:    And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.  (Malachi 4:5-6)


          Four hundred years had passed; but now Malachi’s prophecy was fulfilled. Six months prior to the birth of our Savior, John the Baptist was born by the special intervention of God.


          How easily we ought to believe God! He who gave life to Elizabeth’s dead womb can do “whatsoever seemeth him good!” “With God nothing shall be impossible!” We ought to believe him implicitly and trust him confidently, without the slightest doubt, even when (especially when) all things appear to contradict his Word.


·        The decree of God is absolute, and cannot be altered.

·        The Word of God is inerrent and must be fulfilled.

·        The promises of God in Christ are yea and amen and can never become nay.


God almighty will do, indeed, he who is God must do all that he has said. If one word from God shall fall to the ground, the whole Book of God crumbles to nothing but a religious myth!


Notice, at the outset, that the birth of John the Baptist was looked upon as a singular, special act of God’s great mercy upon Elizabeth (v. 58).


And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.  (Luke 1:58)


·        Great Mercy in Conception.

·        Great Mercy in Her Pregnancy.

·        Great Mercy in Delivery.

·        Great Mercy in the Birth of a Child.


The birth of a child is a remarkable instance of God’s great mercy. And with the mercy comes a tremendous responsibility. Happy are those homes where this fact is known.


Proposition: In all the circumstances surrounding John’s birth, the Lord has graciously scattered nuggets of grace for the edification of our souls.


Divisions: As we look at the brief history contained in these verses of Inspiration, let me call your attention to three things.


1.     The Blessedness of Affection

2.     The Benefit of Afflictions

3.     The Best of Ambitions




We have before us, in the conduct of Elizabeth’s family and friends an example of that milk of human kindness, love, affection, and care, which ought to flow from our breasts to one another. – “They rejoiced with her” (v. 58).


A.   Let all who name the name of Christ follow their example.


          How much more happiness there would be in this evil world, if such conduct were not so rare. Sympathy in time of sorrow costs little, but is of great value. Oil in your car’s engine may appear to be an insignificant thing; but it is vital to the engine’s movement. And expressions of care and sympathy may seem insignificant; but they are not.


1.     A kind word on a dark day is seldom forgotten.

2.     A consoling hand on heavy shoulders is a sweet succor.

3.     A thoughtful card at the appropriate time is invaluable.

4.     A word of congratulation to one who imagines he is unnoticed is a great boon.

5.     A word of appreciation, kindness, encouragement, or thoughtfulness is never out of order.


“The heart that is warmed by good tidings, or chilled by affliction, is peculiarly susceptible, and sympathy to such a heart is often more precious than gold.”                    J. C. Ryle


B.   Pastors, elders, preachers, teachers, and deacons must never forget that thoughtfulness, kindness, and compassion are the very essence of ministering to the souls of men.


Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.  (James 1:27)


          In all the strife about words and battles over doctrine, in all the controversies raging about great theological issues, we must not overlook or fail to give affection and sympathy to one another (Rom. 12:15; Gal. 6:1-2).


Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.  (Romans 12:15)


Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.    Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  (Galatians 6:1-2)


C.   The gospel of Christ, while it sets forth the righteousness, justice, and truth of God, is also a great revelation of the love of God and the kindness of our Savior.


The Lord Jesus Christ saw our need and supplied it by the sacrifice of himself.


And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:    That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  (John 3:14-16)


But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  (Romans 5:8)


Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.    But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  (1 John 3:16-17)


In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.    Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.    Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  (1 John 4:9-11)


          Our Savior’s name is Jehovah-jireh. He still sees our need and runs to our relief. What an example of kindness he left us.


1.     He went o the marriage feast in Cana to celebrate with some acquaintances in John 2


2.     He went to Bethany in John 11 to weep by the grave of a friend with his broken-hearted family.


D.   There is often a great blessing found in the exercise of kindness toward others.


The Jews who came to the tomb of Lazarus, to weep with Mary and Martha, beheld the greatest miracle performed by our Lord. They saw the miracle because they came to the tomb out of kindness to Mary and Martha.


And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.    Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;  (Ephesians 4:32-6:1)


          Words are inadequate to describe the blessedness of affection in the eyes of those who need it and receive it.




As long as we are in this world, we will be children in need of instruction, protection, provision, and discipline, children under the care of our heavenly Father. In verses 59-64, we see in Zecharias’ conduct an example of a corrected child.


This old, old man was still a child of God, a child of God who required his Father’s rod, even in his old age. Because of his unbelief, Zechariah had been deaf and dumb for nine long months. But those months of affliction had not been useless. He who was o slow to believe now believed every word that proceeded from the mouth of God.


No doubt, the nine months’ of his adversity had been spent wisely by Zechariah. In all likelihood, he learned more about himself and about God, more about the character of his own heart and more about the goodness, grace, and glory of God in those nine months than he had learn in all his life previously. Correction had given him instruction. He was now ashamed of his unbelief.


          Like Job, he could say, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee” (Job 42:5). Like Hezekiah, when the Lord left him, he found out what was in his heart (2 Chron. 32:31)


Howbeit in [the business of] the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was [done] in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all [that was] in his heart.  (2 Chronicles 32:31)


          We shall never escape trouble in this world of woe. Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward (Job 5:7). But in the time of trouble, we ought to seek grace that we may learn by the rod of discipline. Any and every sorrow that humbles us, drives us to our knees, and brings us to our God is a great blessing of his grace and evidence of his love. Someone once said, “Sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions.


Trials do not change anything;

but they reveal everything.




We all have great ambitions for ourselves; but especially for our children. We want and seek so many things for them. And we make great plans. But I want to direct your attention to the very last sentence of our text (verse 66), and how you that which is the best of all ambitions, indeed, the only ambition that is truly worth pursuing with all our hearts. – “And the hand of the Lord was with him!”


          This great blessing which was upon John the Baptist is the thing we ought to seek, desire, and pray for on behalf of our sons and daughters. “The hand of the Lord was with him.” This is the thing we ought to seek for our children. This is “the one thing needful,” – The one thing that will benefit their souls. – The one thing that can never be lost. – The one thing that will go with them beyond the grave! “The hand of the Lord was with him.”


·        To Protect Him.

·        To Convert Him.

·        To Prepare Him for His Work.

·        To Strengthen Him in His Work.

·        To Comfort Him in His Trials.

·        To Sustain Him in His Dying Hours.

·        To Carry Him into Glory.


What the hand of the Lord did for John the Baptist it can do for our sons and daughters as well. Let us seek it for them.