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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 1

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Verses 1-4

Luk 1:1-4

Commentary On Luke 1:1-4

Galen Doughty

Luke 1:1 - Luke is the only gospel writer that gives us clues into how he wrote his gospel and the sources he used for his writing. He is not an eyewitness but was a companion of Paul that joined the apostle on his second missionary journey. He was a Greek from Philippi or Troas who was also a physician. Luke is one of the only ones with Paul during his imprisonment in Caesarea and in Rome. Since he was a physician it is reasonable to assume he took care of Paul during his trials. Paul hints at the fact that he had some debilitating, chronic disease or medical condition in Galatians and 2 Corinthians. Luke might have stayed near him to help him deal with his condition and the rigors of imprisonment.

Luke was with Paul when he came to Jerusalem for the final time. Acts suggests he was also with Paul through his two year imprisonment in Caesarea. It is possible that during that time Luke begins his research into writing a gospel and interviews many of the eyewitnesses who were living in Palestine during this time. He probably talked with Phillip the Deacon who lived in Caesarea and perhaps some from the household of Cornelius. During that two year period he most likely talked with Mary if she was still in Judea or Galilee at the time, gathering his material for his birth narratives. The early accounts of Jesus’ life almost certainly have Mary as their primary source. Nothing else makes sense.

Luke states very clearly that he was not the first person to write an account of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Two references from Paul’s letters help corroborate Luke’s testimony.

Colossians 4:10 : Mark is now with Paul in Rome. That puts Mark in Rome at least by 60 and possible as early as 58. Luke also is with Paul. That means Mark and Luke knew each other and almost certainly were comparing notes in regards to the accounts of Jesus each was writing. Was Peter in Rome already too? Had Mark already finished his gospel? Did he show a draft to Luke, who then used it in his gospel as well? We don’t know the details but the clues are fascinating and give us a picture of how the gospels came to be written. God not only inspired the writers he was in the details of the gathering of their sources. The fact that Mark and Luke met in Rome during Paul’s imprisonment is significant!

Philemon 1:24 : Mark and Luke are together in Rome with Paul around 60-62. It cannot be coincidence that Luke writes of the many who undertook a gospel or that the two gospel writers were together or that Luke borrowed heavily from Mark as a source and outline for his gospel! What conversations did they have with each other, with Paul or even Peter if he was now in Rome? We will never know but the clues suggest that Mark was written before Acts was finished which means his gospel was written as early as 58 or 60 before Paul arrived with Luke in Rome.

Luke 1:2 - Luke uses the phrase, eyewitnesses and servants of the word. The Greek word is huperates, which means attendant, servant, and literally assistant rower, because it comes from the verb to row a boat. It was used of the synagogue attendant who was the bouncer, janitor and keeper of the Scripture scrolls. He was the chief assistant to the president of the synagogue. Here the huperates is the keeper of the Word of Jesus and was also an eyewitness. They were the keepers of the tradition of the Jewish-Christian synagogues, those who followed Jesus as their Messiah. They would insure that the words and deeds of Jesus were preserved correctly and were rightly recited when they were shared in the synagogue. They were the keys to the identity and survival of the Jewish-Christian synagogues because they helped preserve the identity of who the people were, who their Messiah was and what he did and said. Without them stories could too easily have been made up or changed too radically and the life and ministry of Jesus would have been lost which would have led to the destruction of the Jewish-Christian community. Those synagogues were a key part in accurately preserving the tradition of what Jesus said and did and the meaning of it all. They used the cultural tools they knew to pass down orally what Jesus did until it could be written down and preserved for people outside Judea. That is what Luke was doing and that is why he used the huperates as one of his primary sources.

Luke 1:3 - Luke says he carefully investigated everything from the beginning. He begins his gospel with the birth announcement of John the Baptist, going back further than Mark, and even further than Matthew. The careful investigation implies his interviews with eyewitnesses and his gathering of source materials, perhaps sayings of Jesus or even the "Travel Narrative" (Luke 9:51 to Luke 19:27). The most likely time he gathered this material was during Paul’s imprisonment at Caesarea where Luke would have had access to Jewish Christians who knew Jesus and the Messianic Jewish synagogues where Jesus’ sayings and deeds were recited and remembered.

Luke was led through his investigation to write down an account as well for his mentor and probably for the many Greek speaking Christians in the Gentile churches of Asia Minor and Greece. What finally led him to decide to write a gospel we cannot say, except to note that the Holy Spirit was active in his investigations and his decision to write his gospel.

Theophilus was probably his patron who underwrote the expense of Luke’s writing and publishing. He was a Christian and probably a Roman official, which explains the honorific title, most excellent or your Excellency. His name means lover of God, which could be a code name for a more well-known Roman official. Luke might have used Theophilus as a cover to hide the identity of a Roman Christian who needed to be careful of being so public in his faith given the situation with Nero and his increasing paranoia and opposition to Christians.

Luke 1:4 - Luke tells Theophilus he writes so that Theophilus will know the certainty of what he had been taught. In other words Luke writes to show Theophilus that these are not myths he has believed. Jesus was a real historical figure who lived, died and rose again. He is truly the Lord of all and our Savior. We can have complete confidence that the stories of the gospels are true. He writes to convince Theophilus and his readers that Jesus is who he claimed to be, the Son of God and that the invitation of forgiveness that he extends to all who believe is real and true.

Verses 5-25

Luke 1:5-25

Commentary on Luke 1:5-25

Galen Doughty

Luke 1:5-10 - Luke begins his narrative with the birth announcement of John the Baptist. He introduces us to Zechariah a priest who was of the priestly division of Abijah. 1 Chronicles 24 describes the process where the priests by family groups were divided into their divisions in order to know whose turn it was to serve in the temple. It was all based on a rotating schedule by families. Abiathar was a son of Ithamar son of Aaron. He was eighth in line for the rotation. The point is there was nothing out of the ordinary about Zechariah. He was a priest in the normal temple service rotation. He probably lived in a nearby town in Judea and traveled to Jerusalem when it was time for his service, staying in the temple until his ministry was finished.

Luke tells us Elizabeth his wife was also a descendant of Aaron, which meant she was of a priestly family as well, but she was barren. In that time that would have been seen as a curse from God upon them. It would have been common for people to believe either they sinned or their parents did and that was the reason Elizabeth could not have children. Luke counteracts that idea by saying they were both upright before God, observing all the Lord’s commandments blamelessly. They were now advancing in years and the implication is Elizabeth is past her childbearing years.

Luke sets the time of John’s birth announcement in the reign of King Herod of Judea. That puts it sometime before 4 BC. Zechariah goes into the temple to serve because it was his division’s turn to serve and the lot had fallen to him. His task that day was to burn incense and offer prayers at the altar of incense before the veil of the holy of holies in the holy place of the temple. The worshippers had gathered outside in the court where the sacrifices were performed as Zechariah went into the temple to perform his duties. This was probably either at the morning or evening sacrifice and prayers. Zechariah goes in to pray while the people pray outside. He is apparently the only priest in the holy place.

Luke 1:11-17 - Zechariah is performing his duties, offering prayers before the altar of incense, when an angel of the Lord suddenly appears right next to the altar of incense. Zechariah is naturally startled and afraid. The angel immediately calms him and tells him not to be afraid.

He then tells Zechariah that Elizabeth is going to become pregnant and have a son. He tells him they are to name him John. He will bring them joy and will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is not to drink wine or any other fermented drink and will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth or his mother’s womb. The Nazarite vow of Numbers 6 includes the stipulation of no alcohol but also speaks about not shaving the sideburns or touching anything dead. It is possible that John was to be a Nazarite from birth or something similar. When the angel says he is to be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth that was a signal that something extraordinary was going to happen. Prophets and kings were filled with the Spirit. He only came on people with special callings.

Then the angel describes John’s life and mission. He will bring the people back to the Lord their God in the Spirit and power of Elijah. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and prepare a people for the Lord. Gabriel basically quotes from Malachi 4 and the last prophecy of the Old Testament. Before the Messiah comes God will send the Elijah prophet to turn his people back to him and prepare for the Messiah. Zechariah could not have mistaken what the angel was telling him. Elizabeth was going to bear the Elijah prophet in preparation for the Messiah and they were to name him John. That was not a family name and so would have seemed odd to name him. It was God’s name that he chose for his prophet and forerunner of his Messiah.

Luke 1:18 - Zechariah expresses his doubts about the angel’s message. How can I be sure of this, in other words how can I know what you tell me is true? He doesn’t say with Mary, how can this be, but how can I trust your message! It is a natural question, especially after 400 years of silence and no prophetic word to Israel. The Jews had been waiting for the Messiah with increasing fervor, and they knew the prophecies that the Elijah prophet would have to come first. Perhaps Zechariah is like us. We all know God has to choose someone to carry out his plans. Someone had to be the parents of John. Zechariah just doesn’t understand why God would pick him and Elizabeth! I don’t even think this is like Moses; Lord please choose someone else. I think it is simple incredulity. You want to pick me? How can I be sure of this?

Luke 1:19-20 - The angel identifies himself as Gabriel, the angel who was sent to Daniel to tell him God’s answers to his prayers. He describes himself as the one who stands in the presence of Yahweh. He has been sent to speak with Zechariah and tell him what is to come. Jewish intertestamental literature names him as one of the four archangels (Michael, Sariel or Uriel, Raphael and Gabriel). Zechariah was probably familiar with the apocryphal writings and perhaps even Jewish apocalyptic because he was a priest and would have studied in the temple. When he heard the name Gabriel he definitely would have recognized it. In fact it may have made him all the more fearful because now he has questioned one of the archangels of God!

It almost seems like Gabriel is a little mad at Zechariah for questioning him. Maybe he’s not used to that! He says I’m trying to give you good news and you doubt it! Ok, you won’t be able to speak until your son is born because you did not believe the words I spoke to you! Gabriel gives Zechariah a sign that his message is true but it is also a punishment for unbelief. It’s almost like he is saying, doubt me will you, ok you can’t talk until everything I told you happens as I said it would.

Luke 1:21-25 - The people were outside praying and waiting for Zechariah to emerge from the holy place. They start to wonder why he was taking so long when he finally emerges but cannot speak. Zechariah makes signs to the crowd so they understand he has seen a vision in the temple. This would have been out of the ordinary but not completely unexpected. He was after all in the presence of the Lord where only the priests could go. The temple and its rituals might have been familiar to the Jews but they were still dealing with Yahweh who was mysterious and wonderful. Anything might happen when people came in contact with God!

Zechariah heads home after his service is up and Elizabeth gets pregnant. She remains in seclusion for five months probably to make sure she is pregnant and not to do anything that might jeopardize the baby. She sees it as the Lord’s blessing and that he has removed her shame at not being able to bear children. She sees her pregnancy as God’s favor and grace to her.

The five months of seclusion set up the time reference in Luke 1:26, in the sixth month. It was the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.

The birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah and Elizabeth is very much in the same vein as Isaac to Abraham and Sarah and Samuel to Hannah and Elkanah. This is an Old Testament miracle of conception when it appeared impossible. In fact these first few chapters of Luke read much like Samuel, Judges and Kings, as if the Old Testament times were being wrapped up and a new way of God’s dealing with his people is about to come to pass. Prophecy is being fulfilled, the Messiah is coming.

Verses 26-38

Luk 1:26-38

Commentary On Luke 1:26-38

Galen Doughty

Luke 1:26-27 - The sixth month refers to Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Gabriel is sent to Mary when Elizabeth is six months pregnant with John the Baptist. He goes to a town in Galilee called Nazareth. We now know from archeological diggings there that Nazareth was a village of about 400 in Jesus’ time. Thus it would have been a tightknit community where everyone would know everyone else. Betrothals would have been arranged and the whole village would have known it. Nothing was secret in a small town like that.

Mary was betrothed to Joseph a man who was of the house of David. Joseph would have known his ancestry and it would have been a source of family pride but it meant little in the larger scheme of things. The Davidic line had long since lost its power and though there was the hope of the Messiah no one in Nazareth or anywhere else put any stock in the fact that Joseph the carpenter was descended from David. No one that is accept God! He and Mary were betrothed which is more than an engagement and less than a marriage. Legally she now belonged to him and was his wife but they would not consummate the marriage until their wedding which usually was a year after the betrothal. The gospels tell us that Joseph was from Nazareth too which means Mary had known him for much of her life. People did not move in and out of a village like Nazareth. Mary was also a virgin, which meant she was a young teenage girl, probably around 14 or 15 and no more than 16 years old. She was probably a freshman in high school by our standards.

Nazareth was simply a small first century village in Galilee, a region of mixed peoples with many Greeks living there but predominantly still Jewish. Sephoris, a large and cosmopolitan city was nearby and if Joseph was a carpenter or day laborer he probably had plenty of work to do in the region. The town would have had a synagogue and a rabbi where the people would gather to worship and read the Scriptures. Nazareth would have been a quiet town in Galilee that was on no one’s radar as having anything significant to do with the great events of the time. As a carpenter, Joseph would have known a craft and worked with his hands. He made a living wage but was not rich by any means. Life would be hard. He was probably looking forward to marriage and a family so he could pass on his trade to his sons which is probably how he learned it himself, from his father.

Luke 1:28-29 - Gabriel comes to Mary and appears to her and gives her a greeting that confuses and troubles Mary. What did he mean, favored one and the Lord is with you? Mary, in looking at her life, probably wondered how the angel could consider her a favorite of God. Her reaction says much about her humble spirit and nature. By Gabriel’s answer, telling her not to be afraid, his greeting and sudden appearance probably frightened her too.

When Gabriel comes to Daniel he is so frightened by him he faints. Zechariah in the temple is startled and afraid. Now Gabriel comes to Mary and has to reassure her she does not need to be afraid. Everyone Gabriel appeared to he had to tell don’t be afraid. His appearance and the mode of his appearing must have been a terrifying experience for everyone he met!

Luke 1:30-33 - Gabriel gives Mary the news he was sent to deliver. She is to be the mother of the Messiah! She had found favor with God. The word is grace, charin. In later years Mary may have wondered if grace was the right word for Gabriel to use that day. He tells her she is going to be pregnant and have a son and she is to name him Jesus. I am not sure but I think the naming of children was the father’s prerogative not the mother’s. Jesus will be his name, Joshua or Yeshua in Hebrew, God saves. Matthew explains that he will save his people from their sins. He will be the Savior.

Gabriel tells Mary he will be great and will be called the Son of God and the Lord will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over Israel forever. The language here is unmistakable; Jesus will be the Messiah. He will bring the Kingdom of God as all the prophets wrote centuries before. The long awaited Messiah is about to be born and Mary will be his mother! That is what Gabriel has been sent to tell Mary. God’s long planned salvation for his people is about to happen and Mary will be at the center of it!

Luke 1:34-37 - Mary asks a very pertinent question: how can this happen since I am a virgin? Her question also hints at the fact that her wedding was still some time off and that she had only been recently betrothed to Joseph. Mary’s question is one of confusion unlike Zechariah’s question which is one of doubt. I haven’t ever been with a man so how can I get pregnant? She is not thinking virgin birth at all!

Gabriel then describes the virgin birth or virgin conception. This will be the Holy Spirit’s doing and he will come upon you and overshadow you and cause you to become pregnant without a man. Jesus will be the seed of the woman in Genesis 3 who will bruise the serpent’s head. Gabriel doesn’t explain any more about the process of how God conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb. Perhaps there was no way to do it and even we with our medical knowledge would not completely understand it. Later New Testament writers would say that Jesus was both God and human in one person; two natures in one man, the God -man. Somehow God put them both into Jesus when the Son of God was formed in a teenager’s womb. It is a mystery so profound that Gabriel describes the child as holy and he will be called the Son of God.

It is almost impossible to fathom how the Almighty Creator who spoke the universe into being could shrink down and become a zygote and an embryo inside of Mary. Mary too must have wondered how it was all possible. As if in answer Gabriel gives Mary the news about her cousin Elizabeth, that she is now sixth months pregnant. Then he adds the great line, for nothing is impossible with God! God can do what no one else can do. Yet God chooses to use human beings and work through them on this planet. So he chooses to become a human himself to save us and he chooses to use a humble village carpenter and a young teenage girl who has lived a sheltered village life to work out his mighty plan. It is beyond anything we could have imagined and yet God said so as well. Who would have believed what we have heard, Isaiah writes. Who indeed; but nothing is impossible with God!

Luke 1:38 - This is the greatest line in the whole story. Mary accepts the Lord’s will for her and accepts all the consequences of what the Lord wants to do through her. May it be to me as you have said. I am the Lord’s servant. With that acceptance of God’s plan Mary sets in motion the salvation of the human race, but it would cost her. She will have to endure the scandal of getting pregnant without having been with Joseph. She accepts whatever may come with Joseph and simply trusts herself to God. She will endure sidelong glances and whispered gossip for the rest of her life about Jesus because that is what happens in small villages in Galilee where everyone knows everyone else’s business. She knows nothing of the wide world outside her home, yet Mary becomes in that moment one of the greatest people in the world. She could have hardly understood the cost of saying yes to herself let alone the burden she would bear for the rest of her days in being the mother of the Messiah, yet she takes it on. All the joy and the pain she embraces in her answer. If she had already found favor with God he must have smiled at that moment, knowing his choice had been the right one. The Catholics venerate Mary so much it borders on worship. She almost becomes a sort of demi-goddess and go between for us and Jesus. The Protestants do not honor her enough. Perhaps it is because she is a woman, yet no woman had more impact on the plan of God for the salvation of the world than this humble teenager from Nazareth. Her humility was her strength and she was pleasing to God because of it.

Luke almost certainly learned of Gabriel’s visit from Mary herself. What that meeting was like we do not know, but I think Luke also was impressed with Mary’s character and could recognize that here was one whom the Lord favored indeed. Though she and Jesus at times were at odds with each other it is clear from all the gospels that Jesus loved his mother very much and was grateful for her. We should be too.

Verses 39-56

Luk 1:39-56

Commentary On Luke 1:39-56

Galen Doughty

Luke 1:39-45 - Soon after Gabriel’s announcement to her Mary hurried to see Elizabeth, undoubtedly to see if the angel’s story were true and to celebrate with her cousin. Did Mary go alone? I don’t think so as that would have been unthinkable in the village culture she lived in. Luke does not tell us who went with her or whether it was a man or a woman. Did Mary’s mother go with her to see her cousin? Again Luke gives us no details and even makes the story sound as if Mary traveled all the way from Galilee to Judea alone.

When Mary goes in to greet Elizabeth, John in his mother’s womb leaps for joy. The Holy Spirit fills Elizabeth and she prophesies about Mary. She blesses Mary inspired by the Spirit and asks her why the mother of my Lord should come to visit her. Elizabeth supernaturally understands that Mary is pregnant with the Messiah. John in his mother’s womb and filled with the Spirit already somehow recognizes the one he has come to announce and leaps inside Elizabeth. She perceives it as her baby recognizing the Messiah. Mary could not have been more than a few months pregnant at this time, even allowing for delays in departure from Nazareth and the time it took someone to walk on foot all the way to Judea.

Elizabeth then blesses Mary again for believing what the Lord has said to her and that it will be accomplished. She blesses Mary for accepting her pregnancy and taking on being the mother of the Messiah. Elizabeth gives Mary two blessings in this passage. If you count John’s leap inside her it is three.

Luke 1:46-56 - The Magnificat, Mary’s song which takes its name from the opening line in Latin, my soul magnifies the Lord, or praises the Lord.

Mary’s song sounds like many of the Psalms including Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2. Mary must also have been inspired by the Holy Spirit at the time. Either she or Elizabeth or someone else who was present (Mary’s unnamed relative who accompanied her?), remembered her words and later shared them with Luke.

Mary praises God for remembering her, a servant of the Lord. She reflects that though she is a humble village girl generations to come will call her blessed because of what God has done for her. The Magnificat reflects Mary’s early understanding of her role and what her son will do. It describes the Messiah in terms such as Isaiah did about bringing justice for the poor and saving Israel from her enemies. Fittingly it is mostly about God exalting the humble such as Mary and bringing down the proud, like King Herod, though she does not name him by name. This theme of the blessing of the poor and God’s justice coming against the rich who exploit them Jesus will repeat in the Sermon on the Plain. Mary closes by singing that God has remembered his covenant with Abraham to save them and bless them and make them a great nation.

Mary’s song is very much in the tradition of the Old Testament Psalms and prophets. There is nothing radical here or out of the ordinary. David and his house and reign are not mentioned directly though they are alluded to.

Mary stays with Elizabeth for another three months. Elizabeth would have been ready to deliver when Mary leaves. Mary must have been around three months pregnant or a little more when she goes back home. By the time she gets to Nazareth it will be more and more difficult to hide her pregnancy and tongues will begin to wag. Who was she with when she went to visit her cousin? We know from Matthew that Joseph thought she had betrayed him and committed adultery with someone. It was not long after Mary got home that the full implications of what God had done to her began to be obvious and the burden and shame (though she had done nothing wrong) came full force against her.

Verses 57-80

Luk 1:57-80

Commentary On Luke 1:57-80

Galen Doughty

Luke 1:57-66 - Luke now returns to John and his birth. Elizabeth gives birth to a son and her neighbors celebrate with her. A barren woman was thought to be cursed of God, no matter how upright and moral she might have been. Her friends are filled with joy over Elizabeth’s son because they see it as a lifting of God’s curse upon her and God showing mercy to her.

When Zechariah and Elizabeth invite their friends to come to the boy’s circumcision according to the Law, at eight days old, the ones who are circumcising him are going to name him after Zechariah. Who are these people? Is it the village rabbi, or other priests or family? All are possibilities. Elizabeth speaks up and says his name is John which points to the fact that women didn’t have a central role in the naming of a child, especially a son. The friends or family argue that John is not a family name and is inappropriate.

Then follows the funny part. Zechariah is not deaf he just can’t speak but his friends and family attending the circumcision ceremony make signs to him about what he wants to name the boy as if he can’t hear as well as can’t speak. It’s one of those details that Luke includes that ring true of an eyewitness account and recollection of that day. Zechariah asks for a tablet to write the name and as soon as he writes down his name is John, immediately his tongue is freed and he can speak again! He begins praising God. His Benedictus is probably a summary of what he said.

The people who have gathered are startled and the news spreads throughout the hill country of Judea about what had happened. People gossip and talk about who the child will grow up to be. People would have been talking about this incident for months. Village life is dull and something like this would be told and retold for a long time. Every time Elizabeth would appear with her baby people would whisper the story and probably at every milestone in John’s life growing up as well. Who was this boy going to grow up to be? Something like this doesn’t happen by accident. Plus if the Benedictus is close to what Zechariah said that day his words would be electric among the villagers because he declared that John was going to be the Elijah prophet and that Messiah was coming!

Luke 1:67-79 - The Benedictus, Zechariah’s song of praise to God, named after the opening line of praise to God in Latin.

Luke says Zechariah after his tongue is freed is filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesies, something similar to what happened to Mary. This in itself besides his words would have not been lost upon the people. Prophecy had been dead for 400 years. Now suddenly Zechariah is prophesying. What was going on?

He praises God for saving his people. Zechariah claims the Messiah has been sent, which he had. The developing baby had stayed in Zechariah’s house for three months! Zechariah like Mary sees the Messiah as the one who will save Israel from her enemies and from all who hate the Jews. He will show mercy to his people and remember his covenant with Abraham. God will rescue his people. This probably reflects the current thinking and hopes of the Jews of Zechariah’s village and many across Judea. Zechariah’s words are not wrong; they reflect much of Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, but as Luke will show the mission of the Messiah Jesus will be different than what the people had thought. He will come as God’s Servant to bear the sins of the people and will save them from the greatest enemies of all, sin and death and Satan.

Zechariah then prophesies about his son, John. He declares that he will be a prophet of God. He will prepare the way for the Lord and for his Messiah. He will tell people the way to salvation and how to receive the forgiveness of God. This will be a theme in Luke’s gospel. See chapter 24 and Jesus’ instructions to his disciples about preaching forgiveness to all the nations beginning in Jerusalem. Zechariah then alludes to Malachi 4:2 and the son of righteousness rising on Israel. In other words John will guide the people toward the light and away from the darkness. This he did in his ministry of forewarning and baptism of repentance. Zechariah declares that John is the Elijah prophet and forerunner of the Messiah just as Gabriel had told him in the temple nine months before. Not only would the circumstances surrounding John’s birth be talked about and what happened at his circumcision but also Zechariah’s prophecy and song. All together it would have given the people of John’s village something to reflect upon and gossip about for years to come. They probably never tired of talking about it and speculating about what it meant. After all, one of their number was going to be famous, God had said so!

Luke 1:80 - Luke says John grows up and became strong in spirit or perhaps strong in the Holy Spirit. He lived in the desert until the time for his public ministry. The museum at Qumran suggests that John might have joined the Qumran community. With its emphasis on purity and righteousness it might have appealed to John. We do not know, but it is an intriguing possibility. Luke’s detail, that he lives in the desert fits the profile of the Elijah prophet. Elijah appeared out of the desert to bring Israel back to God. John will do the same.

Luke has established John’s identity as the Elijah prophet and has moved him out to the desert until the time comes for his public ministry. Now he turns back to Jesus and his birth and early years. Luke moves his narrative along with great skill!

Questions by E.M. Zerr For Luke Chapter One

1. To what writers does Luke refer?

2. How had these writings been received ?

3. Is Luke included in “they” of verse two?

4. How had “they” been qualified as writers?

5. What seemed good to Luke?

6. State his qualification.

7. To whom is this writing addressed ?

8. For what purpose was the document furnished him

9. In what days does he begin his narrative?

10. Who was Zacharias ?

11. Explain “course of Abia” in verse five.

12. State his wife’s name.

13. Of what tribe was she?

14. State the tribe of Zacharias.

15. What is said of their lives?

16. Tell what restricted the size of their family.

17. What was the work of the priest?

18. At what place was this?

19. What were the people doing at the same time?

20. Who appeared to Zacharias at this time ?

21. How was he affected?

22. For what had he prayed ?

23. State the promise made to him here.

24. What specification was given him?

25. Tell what this birth would cause.

26. In whose sight will he be great?

27. State his personal habits.

28. With what will he be filled?

29. What will he do for many children of Israel?

30. Who is “him” in the 17th verse?

31. For what purpose will he go forth ?

32. What preparation was he to make?

33. Who was telling all this to Zacharias?

34. Why did he express doubt to the angel?

35. Tell the sign to be put on him,

36. How long was it to continue?

37. Why did the people marvel?

38. When did he return home?

39. Why did his wife hide herself?

40. How did she comment on her condition?

41. To whom was Gabriel sent again?

42. Where did she live?

43. What was she to Joseph?

44. Of what lineage was she?

45. How was Mary to stand among women?

46. Of whom was she to be favored?

47. How did this greeting affect her?

48. With what fact did he calm her?

49. State the promise he made her.

50. Aud state the instruction about the name.

51. How will he be called?

52. What will be given him ?

53. Tell of his authority.

54. Why did this all seem impossible to Mary ?

55. How was this difficulty to be met?

56. Why was the child to be called the Son of God?

57. What other information was given Mary?

58. How great is God’s power?

59. Describe Mary’s spirit of resignation.

60. To what country did she then go?

61. Into whose house did she then enter?

62. What caused the quickening within Elizabeth ?

63. Tell what filled her at this time.

64. On what subject did this cause her to speak ?

65. Why did she seem to feel honored?

66. What assuring word did she give Mary ?

67. Who spoke next?

68. What was being magnified?

69. In what did she find rejoicing?

70. What social position did she remember?

71. Tell the future honor she expected.

72. Where does she place the credit?

73. Who shall receive his mercy?

74. What had he done to the proud ?

75. And to the humble?

76. What reversal hath God done to the rich and hungry?

77. Whom of the fathers had he remembered?

78. State the length of Mary’s visit here.

79. At this time what took place?

80. Who were led to rejoice?

81. What rite was observed the 8th day?

82. Tell what they called him and why.

83. Who objected?

84. What was their reasoning about it?

85. Who settled the dispute ?

86. Why did he call for writing material?

87. At what did they marvel?

88. What happened to Zacharias now?

89. How did he show appreciation?

90. State the general effect of this circumstance.

91. What hand was said to be with the child ?

92. Who became inspired at this time?

93. What had God done for his people ?

94. Of what house was this child?

95. Who had spoken of all this?

96. State the object of it.

97. What was to be remembered ?

98. The child was to be called what?

99. Where was he to go?

100. To give what to the people?

101. What was to be remitted ?

102. This was through what?

103. What had visited the earth?

104. State who were to have light.

105. How did the child progress?

106. Where did he dwell?

107. For how long was it to be?

Luke Chapter One

By Ralph L. Starling

Luke was not an apostle but a physician

Writer with full accreditation

Recording the life and teachings of Christ Jesus

With the backing of prophecy and eye witnesses.

He tells them about the birth of John and Jesus.

Elizabeth and Mary were cousins and in God’s sight precious.

Elizabeth being past the age of child bearing.

They could hardly believe what they were hearing.

Elizabeth’s husband, a Priest, wouldn’t believe.

He became dumb until the child was received.

When Zacharias completed his Priestly duties

He returned hom to things he was committed.

Elizabeth, now pregnant, for 5 months, hid away.

“The Lord has reproved my reproach in my old age.”

The angel told Elizabeth to name the child John.

Whil still dumb, Zacharias wrote, “it is John.”

John would be one to turn many to the Lord,

Preparing the way for Christ by sounding the word.

He would have the spirit and power of Elias.

To turn the hard hearts of the most bias.

Now Luke tells about Joseph and Mary.

The news by the angel was almost scary.

Mary would be one most favored among women,

And was told what she and Elizabeth had in common.

Elizabeth’s son would be named John.

Mary’s son would be Jesus, God’s Son.

When Elizabeth heard about Mary’s boy,

Her child, in the womb, leaped with joy.

Elizabeth and Mary couldn’t contain their excitement.

God was blessing them in their late life.

Mary spent about three months with Elizabeth,

And then returned to her hom in Nazareth.

“What had happened to Zacharias and Elizabeth”

Mary pondered, “What kind of a child would John be?”

She was reassured by the Prophet’s speech.

He would guide their feet in the way of peace.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Luke 1". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/luke-1.html.
 
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