We Shall Give Him Our Son

Title: We Shall Give Him Our Son

Bible Book: Luke 1

Author: David E. Owen

Subject: Jesus, Birth of; Devotion; Stewardship; Christmas



Katherine K. Davis was a composer and pianist who wrote her most famous piece of music in 1941. When she composed the words and music for “Carol of the Drum,” it was apparently transcribed from a traditional Czechoslovakian carol. The song became famous when it was recorded by the Trapp Family Singers in 1955. You will remember it by the more familiar title “The Little Drummer Boy.”

The lyrics tell the fictional story of a poor young boy who accompanies the wise men on their journey to Bethlehem. And when they arrive and lay their gifts at Jesus’ feet, the boy decides that because he cannot afford to give anything, he will play his drum for the Christ child.

Without the “rum pum pum pum’s,” the song says…

Come they told me, a newborn King to see,

Our finest gifts we bring, To lay before the king,

So to honor Him, When we come.

Little baby, I am a poor boy too,

I have no gift to bring, That’s fit to give our King,

Shall I play for you, On my drum.

Mary nodded, The ox and lamb kept time,

I played my drum for Him, I played my best for Him,

Then He smiled at me, Me and my drum.

Pa rum pum pum pum!

There is such a spirit of selfishness that pervades the Christmas season that it is refreshing to be reminded of the Biblical wise men and even the fictional drummer boy who came (not to receive gifts from Jesus, but) to bring their best gift to this born king.

I read about a medical missionary named Dr. Paul White who served in East Africa. He told the story of one Christmas Eve on the mission field when all the national Christians had come to the hospital to use the ironing board, wanting to press their old clothes and rags. A long line formed outside the ironing room. One young man was wearing little more than a castoff apron, and Dr. White asked him, “What are you up to?” Cheerfully, the man replied, “Christmas tomorrow, Bwana (an East African term of respect). We’ve got to look our best. We are ironing our clothes. Behold, it is our Savior’s birthday. We want to look our best to honor Him.”

On the other end of the spectrum, I came across a story about Grandma Ruby who decided that buying presents for all of her family and friends was a bit much at Christmas now that she was in her 90’s. So this year she wrote out checks for all of them to put in their Christmas cards. In each card she carefully wrote, “Buy your own present” and then sent them off. After the Christmas festivities were over, she found the checks under a pile of papers on her desk. So everyone on her gift list had received a beautiful Christmas card from her with the words “Buy your own present” written inside – without the check!

I think that’s probably the attitude that some of us have towards the Lord. We want Him to give to us, but He can “buy His own present.”

But the East African man wanted to honor the Lord at Christmas by ironing his ragged apron. The wise men brought gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And though the Christmas narrative certainly reminds us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” it is also filled with examples of individuals who themselves gave something to God for the benefit of His Son, Jesus.

That is our theme for some of the next few services: “What Gift Shall I Give This King?”

· The wise men said, “We shall give Him our substance.”

· Mary said, “I shall give Him my self.”

· Joseph said, “I shall give Him my spouse.”

· The angels said, “We shall give Him our song.”

· The shepherds said, “We shall give Him our support.”

And in the preface and prologue of the Christmas account, we find Zacharias and Elizabeth who had a son that was given to the service of the Lord, and whose entire existence was wrapped up in promoting another man – namely Jesus.

Zacharias and Elizabeth could well have said, “We shall give Him our son.” And as we begin to learn about this child named John, we find that…

I. This Son Gave The Lord His Worshipful Leaping

(Luke 1:39-41) And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; {40} And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. {41} And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

(Luke 1:44) For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

leaped – Greek 4640. skirtao, skeer-tah'-o; akin to skairo (to skip); to jump, i.e. sympathetically move (as the quickening of a foetus):--leap (for joy).

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that this Greek word…

is used in descriptions of young horses which gallop across the fields. In Plato it denotes the impulsive restlessness of the animal. It is transferred to men, especially the young who cannot be still for a moment. (In some cases the word is a pure metaphor for joy.)

joy – Greek 20. agalliasis, ag-al-lee'-as-is; from G21; exultation; specifically welcome:--gladness, (exceeding) joy.

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament goes on to say of the Greek word for “joy” that…

‎What the term denotes is not so much a mood of satisfied joy as a consciousness of joyful pride expressed in the whole attitude. The expression of this joy, to which there does not have to be any reference in the word, has the character of demonstration rather than impartation.

This tells us that when John leaped for joy, he wasn’t trying to get somebody else stirred up and impart joy; he was simply demonstrating the joy that he felt himself. John knew that the truly magnificent thing here was not the jumping in Elizabeth’s womb but the Jesus in Mary’s womb. Worship draws attention to Jesus, not us. It’s about Him, not me. That’s how worship should be.

A. Notice The Unusual Place Of This Worship

(Luke 1:41) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

1. This Was A Place That Had Experienced Difficult Barrenness

(Luke 1:7) And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

barren – Greek 4723. steiros, sti’-ros; a contr. from G4731 (as stiff and unnatural); “sterile”:--barren.

Craig Keener explains that…

To be childless was economically and socially disastrous: economically, because parents had no one to support them in old age; socially, because in the law barrenness was sometimes a judgment for sin, and many people assumed the worst possible cause of a problem. Most people assumed that barrenness was a defect of the wife, and Jewish teachers generally insisted that a man divorce a childless wife so he could procreate. “Aged” may suggest that they were over sixty. (From the IVP Bible Background Commentary)

2. This Was A Place That Had Experienced Divine Blessing

(Luke 1:13) But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

bear – Greek 1080. gennao, ghen-nah'-o; from a var. of G1085; to procreate (prop. of the father, but by extens. of the mother); fig. to regenerate:--bear, beget, be born, bring forth, conceive, be delivered of, gender, make, spring.

This word simply suggests that there would be life where there had been none!

(Luke 1:24-25) And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, {25} Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

What made Elizabeth’s womb an environment of worship? Conception.

conceived – Greek 4815. sullambano, sool-lam-ban'-o; from G4862 and G2983; to clasp, i.e. seize (arrest, capture); spec. to conceive (lit. or fig.); by impl. to aid:--catch, conceive, help, take.

The word basically means that through her companionship and union with the father, something special started happening in her life. How like the beginnings of worship!

There Is Not A More Suitable Place For Worship To Take Place Than One That Has Been Barren And Then Blessed.

B. Notice The Unusual Participant Of This Worship

(Luke 1:41) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

1. This Was A Fetus Who Represented The Favor Of God

(Luke 1:13) But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

2491. Ioannes, ee-o-an'-nace; of Heb. or. [H3110]; Joannes (i.e. Jochanan), the name of four Isr.:--John.

From the Hebrew word…

3110. Yowchanan, yo-khaw-nawn'; a form of H3076; Jochanan, the name of nine Isr.:--Johanan.

From another Hebrew word…

3076. Yehowchanan, yeh-ho-khaw-nawn'; from H3068 and H2603; Jehovah-favored; Jehochanan, the name of eight Isr.:--Jehohanan, Johanan. Comp. H3110.

The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia says that the name “John” denotes grace or favor. And he certainly represented a manifestation of God’s grace for his parents. And as his voice started crying in the wilderness, he represented a manifestation of God’s grace for a world that had endured several centuries of divine silence.

2. This Was A Fetus Who Revealed The Filling Of God

(Luke 1:15) For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

filled – Greek 4130. pletho, play’-tho; a prol. form of a prim. pleo, pleh’-o (which appears only as an alt. in certain tenses and in the redupl. form pimplemi); to “fill” (lit. or fig. [imbue (permeate), influence, supply]); spec. to fulfil (time):--accomplish, full (. . . come), furnish.

The old preacher and commentator John Gill wrote that…

[he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb] or “whilst in his mother’s womb”, as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions render it: like Jeremiah, he was sanctified, set apart, and ordained to be the prophet of the Highest, before he came out of his mother’s womb; and was then under such an influence of the Spirit of God, as to leap in it for joy, at the salutation of the mother of Christ to his.

II. This Son Gave The Lord His Witnessing Lips

(John 1:22-23) Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? {23} He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

A. He Is Known For His Message Of Repentance – Matthew 3

(Matthew 3:1-2) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, {2} And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

1. Consider The Ramifications Of This Message Of Repentance

‎A. T. Robertson said…

The English word “repent” means “to be sorry again” (but) John did not call on the people to be sorry, but to CHANGE (think afterward) their mental attitudes ‎and conduct. The Old Syriac has it … “Turn ye.” This is John’s great word … John was a new prophet with the call of the old prophets: “Turn ye” (Joel 2:12; Isaiah 55:7; Ezekiel 33:11).

(Joel 2:12) Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

(Isaiah 55:7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

(Ezekiel 33:11) Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

2. Consider The Repetition Of This Message Of Repentance

(Matthew 3:8) Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

(Matthew 3:11) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Matthew Henry wrote…

The doctrine he preached was that of repentance. He preached this in Judea, among those that were called Jews, and made a profession of religion; for even they needed repentance. He preached it, not in Jerusalem, but in the wilderness of Judea, among the plain country people; for even those who think themselves most out of the way of temptation, and furthest from the vanities and vices of the town, cannot wash their hands in innocency, but must do it in repentance. John Baptist’s business was to call men to repent of their sins; ‎Metanoeite‎—Bethink yourselves; “Admit a second thought, to correct the errors of the first—an afterthought. Consider your ways, change your minds; you have thought amiss; think again, and think aright.” Note, True penitents have other thoughts of God and Christ, and sin and holiness, and this world and the other, than they have had (and) the change of the mind produces a change of the way.

B. He Is Known For His Message Of Revelation – John 1

(John 1:15) John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

bare witness – Greek 3140. martureo, mar-too-reh'-o; from G3144; to be a witness, i.e. testify (lit. or fig.):--charge, give [evidence], bear record, have (obtain, of) good (honest) report, be well reported of, testify, give (have) testimony, (be, bear, give, obtain) witness.

John was revealing Jesus. He was not simply telling people to turn from sin, but also to turn to the Savior.

1. He Revealed The Preferment Of The Lord Jesus

(John 1:30) This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

preferred – Greek 1096. ginomai, ghin'-om-ahee; a prol. and mid. form of a prim. verb; to cause to be ("gen"-erate), i.e. (reflex.) to become (come into being).

This phrase that is omitted in some of the Bible versions is critical because it tells us that though Jesus was born and came on the religious scene after John, His existence actually preceded John’s by far.

2. He Revealed The Purpose Of The Lamb Jesus

(John 1:29) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Adam Clarke said that this was said in allusion to what was spoken in Isaiah 53:7…

(Isaiah 53:7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Clarke said…

Jesus was the true Lamb or Sacrifice required and appointed by God, of which those offered daily in the tabernacle and temple (Exodus 29:38-39), and especially the paschal lamb, were only the types and representatives. The continual morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb, under the Jewish law, was intended to point out the continual efficacy of the blood of atonement: for even at the throne of God Jesus Christ is ever represented as a lamb newly slain, Revelation 5:6. But John, pointing to Christ, calls him emphatically, the Lamb of God – all the lambs which had been hitherto offered had been furnished by men: this was provided by GOD, as the only sufficient and available sacrifice for the sin of the world.

John didn’t have any misconceptions about who he was…

(John 1:19-20) And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? {20} And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

A little boy forgot his lines in the church Christmas play. His mother, sitting in the front row to prompt him, gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it didn’t help. Her son’s memory was blank. Finally she leaned forward and whispered the cue, “I am the light of the world.” The child beamed and with great feeling and a loud, clear voice said, “My mother is the light of the world.”

John never said that about himself. He knew who he was (and who he wasn’t).

III. This Son Gave The Lord His Whole Life

A. We Find The Circumstances Of His Martyrdom – Matthew 14

1. Because Of How Herod Was Living, John’s Home Was In A Prison

(Matthew 14:1-5) At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, {2} And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him. {3} For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. {4} For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. {5} And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

Albert Barnes said…

This Herodias was a granddaughter of Herod the Great. She was first married to Herod Philip, by whom she had a daughter, Salome, probably the one that danced and pleased Herod. Josephus says that this marriage of Herod Antipas with Herodias took place while he was on a journey to Rome. He stopped at his brother’s; fell in love with his wife; agreed to put away his own wife, the daughter of Aretas, King of Petraea; and Herodias agreed to leave her own husband and live with him. They were living, therefore, in adultery; and John, in faithfulness, though at the risk of his life, had reproved them for their crimes. Herod was guilty of two crimes in this act: (1) Of “adultery,” since she was the wife of another man. (2) Of “incest,” since she was a near relation, and such marriages were expressly forbidden (Leviticus 18:16).

2. Because Of How Herod Was Lusting, John’s Head Was On A Platter

(Matthew 14:6-11) But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. {7} Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. {8} And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger (a platter). {9} And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. {10} And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. {11} And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.

pleased – Greek 700. aresko, ar-es'-ko; prob. from G142 (through the idea of exciting emotion); to be agreeable (or by impl. to seek to be so):--please.

This daughter, whose name was Salome, stirred the emotions and flesh of Herod.

Barnes noted that…

This was a violation of all the rules of modesty and propriety. One great principle of all eastern nations is to keep their females from public view. For this purpose they are confined in a particular part of the house, called the harem. If they appear in public, it is always with a veil, so closely drawn that their faces cannot be seen. No modest woman would have appeared in this manner before the court, and it is probable, therefore, that she partook of the dissolute principles of her mother.

Wiersbe indicated that…

It was Herodias, Herod’s wife, who held the grudge against John (see Mark 6:19); and she influenced her husband. She plotted to have her teenage daughter perform a lascivious dance at Herod’s birthday feast. Herodias knew that her husband would succumb to her daughter’s charms and make some rash promise to her. She also knew that Herod would want to “save face” before his friends and officials. The plot worked, and John the Baptist was slain.

(Mark 6:19) Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:

B. We Find The Commendation Of His Master – Matthew 11

1. Jesus Commended Him As A Messenger

(Matthew 11:7-10) And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? {8} But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. {9} But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. {10} For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Jesus said that John fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 3:1…

(Malachi 3:1) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

2. Jesus Commended Him As A Man

(Matthew 11:11) Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Barnes said, “This is an emphatic way of saying that there ‘had never’ been a greater ‘man’ than John.”


In all likelihood, John’s parents died before he entered his public ministry, having been “well stricken in years” at the time of his birth. But I believe John would have made his mother and father proud. They would have been pleased with the man that he became.

The apostle John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John vs. 4). And I think Zacharias and Elizabeth would have felt that same way. Gabriel told Zacharias that John would be great and that he would be greatly used of God. And I’m sure that instead of hindering that destiny, John’s parents did everything they could to give their son to this King and to encourage him to serve the Lord.

What kind of example did they communicate to their son?

(Luke 1:5-9) There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. {6} And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. {7} And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. {8} And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, {9} According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

They were faithful in their way; they were faultless in their walk; he was fervent in his work.

What about mom in particular?

(Luke 1:41-43) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: {42} And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. {43} And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

She showed holiness, happiness, and humility.

What about dad in particular?

(Luke 1:13) But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

(Luke 1:64) And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.

(Luke 1:67) And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied…

He prayed; he praised; he prophesied.

What kind of expectation did they communicate to their son?

(Luke 1:76-79) And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; {77} To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, {78} Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, {79} To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

They expected him to grow up and serve God, and tell people about salvation and the Savior.

We give our children to so many things these days. We give them to baseball and soccer and basketball and band and cheerleading and work and school. And they are learning from the things that you give priority to. Is church important? Is knowing God and serving God and loving God important? What is more important than that?

What are you giving your children to? Give them to Jesus so that they will be His worshippers, and His witnesses, and His workers!

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