Tag Archives: Luke 1

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 199/260: Mary

Read Luke 1:26-38

Confidence in God’s Promises

When Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, she was called “highly favored” and “blessed…among women” (Luke 1:28). Mary’s reaction to seeing an angel was the typical one: “she was troubled” (Luke 1:29). Throughout the Scriptures, when an angel appeared to a person, that person was generally troubled or afraid. Thus, Gabriel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).

Then the angel told Mary why she was “highly favored” and “blessed”: she was the woman through whom God would bring “the Son of the Highest” into the world (Luke 1:32). Mary questioned the angel further, saying, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34).

Was Mary exhibiting doubt in the word of Gabriel here, or was she simply seeking clarification? We must be very careful that we do not impugn upon her doubt when we do not have the full story. Mary was well aware of how babies were made, and she was also aware she had not participated in such activities. How then could she bring a child into the world?

A prophet of old said, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Indeed, as Gabriel said, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

After the angel’s explanation, Mary did not ask any further questions. She accepted the message and showed great faith, saying, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

Are we as confident as Mary in the promises of God? He has promised many things contingent on our faithful obedience, but how often do we doubt and search for loopholes? This is not to suggest that we should never seek further information or clarification; when we do not fully understand something that God says, we certainly should ask questions! But when we receive the answer, are we satisfied that God will deliver on His promises?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 197/260: Zacharias

Read Luke 1:67-80

Prophecy Fulfillment

For centuries, the Jews awaited the arrival of the Messiah. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptizer, praised God that the time of the Messiah had finally come. He made specific reference to a number of prophecies of old.

Zacharias proclaimed, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people” (Luke 1:68). The idea behind “visiting” is not limited to spending time with another, but carries with it the connotation of taking care of another. These thoughts can be traced back to a number of prophecies. “And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening; for the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity” (Zephaniah 2:7 KJV). David also referred to this concept of God “visiting” His creation: “What is man that You are mindful of him? And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:4, cf. Hebrews 2:6).

Zacharias also referred to “a horn of salvation” (Luke 1:69), indicating great strength. The image of the powerful “horn” was used by Ezekiel, who called Him “the horn of the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 29:21), and by the psalmists, who used the phrases “the horn of David” (Psalm 132:17) and “the horn of His people” (Psalm 148:14).

Further, Zacharias recognized that the Messiah would come from the line of David, using the phrase, “in the house of His servant David” (Luke 1:69). The Old Testament is full of such prophecies. “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11).

God, in His infinite wisdom, inspired men of old to declare what He planned to do and how He planned to save man. As we read through the gospel accounts and the rest of the New Testament, we see that plan unfolding. We are blessed to live in a time that we have the full revelation of God at our fingertips. God strengthens our faith through His Word as we read both the promises in the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those promises in the New.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 196/260: Zacharias and Elizabeth

Read Luke 1:5-25

Righteous And Blameless (But Not Perfect)

Luke begins his account of the gospel not with the birth of Jesus, but of John the Baptizer, who was born about six months before “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). John’s parents were Zacharias and Elizabeth, both described in inspiration as “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). What a beautiful description of these people of faith!

We are not told exactly how old this couple was; we only know that “they were both well advanced in years” (Luke 1:7). Zacharias was a priest and was on this occasion burning incense in the temple. This was a special honor for a priest. The late brother James Burton Coffman wrote, “The great numbers of priests necessitated that particular choice for various functions should be made by casting lots; and no one was allowed to burn incense more than once, many never being permitted to do so at all.”

While he performed his duties at the altar of incense, an angel appeared to Zacharias and told him that he and his wife would have a son. This son, who they were to name John, would be the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy! “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” (Luke 1:17).

Zacharias stumbled in his faith here, doubting the angel’s announcement. “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife s well advanced in years” (Luke 1:18). There is little doubt that Zacharias had forgotten about Abraham and Sarah and the birth of Isaac, but this man likely did not consider himself in the same class as Abraham.

Yet, everything the angel came to pass; Zacharias and Elizabeth brought John the Baptizer into this world, and John prepared the people for the coming Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 1/260: Read Luke 1

For the first time in hundreds of years, God spoke to one of His children. The person who received the message was Zacharias, a priest. While many priests were denounced throughout the Scriptures for various sins, Zacharias is called “righteous” and “blameless.” This does not mean he was perfect or sinless, but that he sought to serve God in his life.

If you died tomorrow, how would your obituary read? Could the preacher at your funeral say, with all sincerity, that you were “righteous” and “blameless” in your life? What changes do you need to make in your life to make those adjectives fit your description?

It is never too late to make a commitment to serve the Lord. We read of many servants throughout both the Old and New Testaments who overcame their weaknesses and by the grace of God were used for His purpose.

Paul reminded the saints in Corinth of what they “were” before coming to know Christ: unrighteous sinners who could not inherit the kingdom of God. Because of Christ, though, they changed their lives and “are washed…sanctified…justified.” (1 Cor. 6:9-11)

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Luke 5:31-32: Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”


Pray for the wisdom to recognize your weaknesses and seek guidance in the Scriptures on how to become righteous and blameless in God’s sight.

The Life of John the Baptist: The Birth of John the Baptist

The Life of John the Baptist

THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPITST // Luke 1:5-25; 1:57-80

I. The parents of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-7)

    A. Zacharias was a priest, of the division of Abijah

      1. “Jehovah is renowned”
      2. “The great numbers of priests necessitated that particular choice for various functions should be made by casting lots; and no one was allowed to burn incense more than once, many never being permitted to do so at all.” (Coffman, Luke)

    B. Elizabeth was of the daughters of Aaron

      1. “God is an oath”
      2. A relative of Mary
      3. Barren

    C. They were both “righteous before God”

      1. “Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord”
      2. “Blameless”

II. Zacharias’ service in the temple (Luke 1:8-10)

    A. “The inside of the Temple-building was exactly like the inside of the Tabernacle. The Holy Place contained the Table of Showbread, the Menora (candelabra), and the Altar of Incense. Outside the Temple-building was the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Laver. Inside the Holy of Holies was where the Ark of the Covenant was supposed to be. Only the High Priest could enter there and only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Incense was burned on this altar (which stood just in front of the veil which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies) every morning and every evening so that it was literally, perpetual (cf. Ex. 30:8). It was customary for the Jews to stop whatever they were doing each day at these times of burning the incense in the temple and pray. Many made a special trip to the Temple courts to pray at those hours. It was one of the greatest experience in the life of an ordinary priest of the Jews to be chosen to burn the incense.” (Butler, Luke)

III. Gabriel speaks to Zacharias (Luke 1:11-23)

    A. Fear was the normal response to the appearance of an angel
    B. The announcement of a son

      1. Call his name John – “gift of God” or “God’s grace”
      2. Great in the sight of the Lord
      3. Drink neither wine nor strong drink
      4. Will be filled with the Holy Spirit

    C. John’s work

      1. Turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord
      2. Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (Malachi 4:6)
      3. Turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just
      4. Make ready a people prepared for the Lord

    D. Zacharias’ unbelief

      1. Because of his age
      2. Punishment was to be made deaf (Luke 1:62) and dumb until John’s birth
      3. “Zacharias is not the only one to ask for evidence on which to base his belief: Gideon did; Thomas did….But since Zacharias didn’t believe the word of the angel Gabriel, he was given a sign that would not only establish it in his mind but also cause the people to see that something unusual had happened while he was in the temple.” (Applebury, Luke)

IV. Elizabeth conceives (Luke 1:24-25)

    A. The inability to bear children was viewed as a curse from God
    B. “The mores of that society were such that Elizabeth would indeed have suffered all kinds of reproach from her family, possibly even from her husband, and certainly from her community. Her gratitude at the lifting of such a reproach is beautiful and touching. If she had suffered a number of miscarriages in the past, it would have accounted for her period of hiding for five months.” (Coffman, Luke)

V. The birth of John (Luke 1:57-66)

    A. The neighbors believed the child should be named Zacharias after his father, but Elizabeth and Zacharias rejected their suggestion

      1. Children were traditionally named after a relative
      2. “The officiousness of the neighbors is seen in their appealing over the mother’s wishes to Zacharias himself.” (Coffman, Luke)

    B. Upon the affirmation of the child’s name, Zacharias was able to speak
    C. “The miracles surrounding the birth of John were talked about through all the hill country of Judea. Those who witnessed the miracles agreed, ‘…the hand of the Lord was with him.’ No doubt there were many who remembered these testimonies when John began preaching 30 years later and repeated them to the younger generation so that great multitudes (Mt. 3:5) went out into the uninhabited Jordan river valley to hear him. After all, there had not been a bona fide prophet of God among the Hebrew people for over 400 years.” (Butler, Luke)

VI. Zacharias prophesies (Luke 1:67-80)

    A. Zacharias praises God for the arrival of the times of the Messiah

      1. Verses 68-75 refer to the coming Christ

        a. “He has visited and redeemed His people” (cf. Isaiah 29:6; Zephaniah 2:7; Psalm 8:4-6; Hebrews 2:6; Acts 15:14)
        b. “A horn of salvation” (cf. Psalm 132:17; 148:14; Ezekiel 29:21)
        c. “In the house of His servant David” (cf. Amos 9:11; Acts 15:15-18)

      2. Verses 76-79 refer to John’s work of preparation for the Christ

        a. “The imagery is that of a herald going before a king to prepare the way for a royal visitor.” (Coffman, Luke)
        b. One of his tasks: “To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins” (cf. Luke 3:3)

    B. Verse 80 is the only information we have about John’s life until his work begins