Luke 1

1 – 4

To Theophilus: Many have tried to give a history of the things that happened among us. They have written the same things that we learned from others—the people who saw those things from the beginning and served God by telling people his message. I myself studied everything carefully from the beginning, your Excellency. I thought I should write it out for you. So I put it in order in a book. I write these things so that you can know that what you have been taught is true.

Luke is writing to share the Gospel with a friend and he uses a greeting that would be given to someone in the Roman government. Luke shows us that he talked to many of the people in this book and checked his story carefully. He writes to Theophilus in the book of Acts in a way that shows us that Theophilus has become a Christian. Acts 1:1

Maybe the Lord would ask you to write a letter to a friend about how you gave your life to Jesus?

5 – 9

During the time Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias. He belonged to Abijah’s group. Zacharias’ wife came from the family of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth.

Zacharias and Elizabeth truly did what God said was good. They did everything the Lord commanded and told people to do. They were without fault in keeping his law. But Zacharias and Elizabeth had no children. Elizabeth could not have a baby; and both of them were very old.

Zacharias was serving as a priest before God for his group. It was his group’s time to serve. According to the custom of the priests, he was chosen to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn incense.

The Old Testament shows us that the priests would take turns serving in the temple. This would be something that happened once in a lifetime of Zacharias. 1 Chronicles 24:4.

10. There were a great many people outside praying at the time the incense was offered.

The people would wait outside the temple for the priest to come out and pray a blessing over them.

11 – 13

Then, on the right side of the incense table, an angel of the Lord came and stood before Zacharias. When he saw the angel, Zacharias was confused and frightened. But the angel said to him, “Zacharias, do not be afraid. Your prayer has been heard by God. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a son. You will name him John.

This couple probably had stopped praying for a baby many years ago, but God did not forget about their prayer. He does not forget our prayers.

14 – 17

You will be very happy. Many people will be happy because of his birth. John will be a great man for the Lord. He will never drink wine or strong drink. Even at the time John is born, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will help many people of Israel return to the Lord their God.

He himself will go first before the Lord. John will be powerful in spirit like Elijah. He will make peace between fathers and their children. He will bring those who are not obeying God back to the right way of thinking. He will make people ready for the coming of the Lord.”

The Jews thought that the promise that Elijah would come was so he could get rid of the Romans. John the Baptist came in the Spirit and in the power of Elijah. Malachi 4:5, Matthew 11:14

John called people to turn away from sin and show that they had changed by being baptized. This would bring the family together as they changed from their old way of life.

18 – 20

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know that what you say is true? I am an old man, and my wife is old, too.”

The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand before God. God sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. Now, listen! You will not be able to talk until the day these things happen. You will lose your speech because you did not believe what I told you. But these things will really happen.”

When the Lord shows you something it is best to bow your head and keep it to yourself and wait for Him to do it. It is better to not tell God that His plan will not work. God will do what He has said even if you do not believe it!

21 – 23

Outside, the people were still waiting for Zacharias. They were surprised that he was staying so long in the Temple. Then Zacharias came outside, but he could not speak to them. So they knew that he had seen a vision in the Temple. Zacharias could not speak. He could only make signs to them. When his time of service as a priest was finished, he went home.

Some teachers would say that if only Zacharias had enough faith he could have been healed. There are other places where we see that God corrected somebody while they were sick to teach them something important. Numbers 12:10, James 5:15

24 – 25

Later, Zacharias’ wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant. She did not go out of her house for five months. Elizabeth said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! My people were ashamed of me, but now the Lord has taken away that shame.”

In the Jewish culture it was embarrassing for woman to not have children. Elizabeth had lived with this all of her life and was so glad to have this feeling taken from her! Do not stop praying!

26 – 28

During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you among women and is with you.”

Mary is among women not above women. Isaiah said this would happen!

The Lord Himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel which means God is with us. Isaiah 7:14

29 – 30

But Mary was very confused by what the angel said. Mary wondered, “What does this mean?” The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because God is pleased with you.

Angels are seen as coming with a bright light and very strong. This is why they say not to be afraid when you see them.

31 – 33

Listen! You will become pregnant. You will give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be great, and people will call Him the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of King David, His ancestor. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end.”

Mary would know that this was a promise of the Messiah. Isaiah 9:7

34. Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I am a virgin.”

We see that Mary was not saying that she could not believe the angel but she was asking in what way God would do this. Her question was different from the way that Zacharias did not believe what was told to him. The word used here shows that Mary was a virgin and not just a young woman.

35 – 37

The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. The baby will be holy. He will be called the Son of God. Now listen! Elizabeth, your relative, is very old. But she is also pregnant with a son. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant for six months. God can do everything!”

This is like saying, “You will not be going through these strange things all alone. Your cousin will share this secret with you and you will help each other!

38 Mary said, “I am the servant girl of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!” Then the angel went away.

Mary used a word that shows she was like an Old Testament bond-servant who promised to stay with his master for the rest of his life. Let us also say, “Lord, do whatever you want with me!”

39 – 44

Mary got up and went quickly to a town in the mountains of Judea. She went to Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the unborn baby inside Elizabeth jumped.

Then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She cried out in a loud voice, “God has blessed you more than any other woman. And God has blessed the baby which you will give birth to.

You are the mother of my Lord, and you have come to me! Why has something so good happened to me? When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy.

It is proven that babies hear us talking before they are born. They respond to their mother’s voice more than to others. They feel pain when they are hurt. They move towards music when they hear it.

People who kill babies say that these are not human beings. They kill them in the most evil ways they can think of. Some babies are killed after they have taken from the mother and are out on a table.

Evil men say that they have to let these babies die to protect the mother’s health even though the baby is on the other side of the room!!! God will judge those who do these things. Millions have been killed and their body parts sold. Anyone who does not see this as evil has a demon speaking to them!

45. You are blessed because you believed what the Lord said to you would really happen.”

As we see in the rest of this chapter, Mary knew the Bible very well. She was putting together what she knew in Scripture with what the angel said.

46 – 47

Then Mary said, “My soul praises the Lord; my heart is happy because God is my Savior.

Mary needs to be saved like the rest of us. She was not without sin, or else why would she say this?

48 – 50

I am not important, but God has shown His care for me, His servant girl. From now on, all people will say that I am blessed, because the Powerful One has done great things for me. His name is holy. God will always give mercy to those who worship Him.

See Exodus 34:7.

51. God’s arm is strong. He scatters the people who are proud and have imaginations about themselves.

Mary knew that people would say bad things about her having a baby before she was married to Joseph. She was willing to go through anything for the Lord. We need to be willing to not worry about what people think. They do not have all the information so we let God show them what they need to know.

52 – 53

God brings down rulers from their thrones, and He raises up the humble. God fills the hungry with good things, but He sends the rich away with nothing.

See Psalm 107:9.

54 – 55

God has helped His people Israel who serve Him. He gave them His mercy. God has done what He promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to His children forever.”

I will confirm My promise with him and his descendants as a promise forever. Genesis 17:19

56. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Mary probably stayed to help during this time of pregnancy.

57 – 58

When it was time for Elizabeth to give birth, she had a boy. Her neighbors and relatives heard how good the Lord was to her, and they rejoiced.

God cares about women! In some places women are not treated with respect. Any woman can see that the Bible shows that God lifts woman up to a higher place than what the world does.

59 – 60

When the baby was eight days old, they came to circumcise him. They wanted to name him Zacharias because this was his father’s name. But his mother said, “No! He will be named John.”

It took until 1961 for doctors to find out that blood cannot stop bleeding until a baby is eight days old!

61 – 64

The people said to Elizabeth, “But no one in your family has this name!” Then they made signs to his father, “What would you like to name him?”

Zechariah asked for something to write on. Then he wrote, “His name is John.” Everyone was surprised. Then Zacharias could talk again. He began to praise God.

Faith opens our mouths. When we do not trust God we keep our mouths closed.

65 – 70

And all their neighbors became alarmed. In all the mountains of Judea people continued talking about all these things. The people who heard about these things wondered about them. They thought, “What will this child be?” They said this because the Lord was with him.

Then Zacharias, John’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit. He told the people what would happen:

 “Let us thank the Lord, the God of Israel. God has come to help His people and has given them freedom. God has given us a powerful Savior from the family of God’s servant David.

God said that He would do this. He said it through His holy prophets who lived long ago.

Zacharias sees that the things that were promised in the Old Testament about preparing the way for the Messiah will happen through his son John.

I am sending My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. Malachi 3:1

71 – 75

God will save us from our enemies and from the power of all those who hate us. God said He would give mercy to our ancestors. And He remembered His holy promise.

God promised Abraham, our father, that He would free us from the power of our enemies, so that we could serve Him without fear. We will be righteous and holy before God as long as we live.

We not only have God’s promises but we can serve Him without fear!

Through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Genesis 22:18

76. “Now you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go first before the Lord to prepare the people for His coming.

It is a good idea to speak to children even when they are young and tell them about the job that they sent to do for the Lord!

77. You will make His people know that they will be saved. They will be saved by having their sins forgiven.

He sees that the Messiah does not come to get rid of the Romans but to save us from our sins.

78 – 80

With the loving mercy of our God, a new day from heaven will shine upon us. God will help those who live in darkness, in the fear of death. He will guide us into the path that goes toward peace.”

And so the child grew up and became strong in spirit. John lived away from other people until the time when he came out to preach to Israel.

Zacharias saw that his son John would prepare the way for the Messiah and that he needed to be quiet and not change God’s plan. This means that Zacharias and his wife could not tell anyone about this because it was not their job.