Read Luke 1 here or click on the speaker icon to listen to it.
Luke is writing this letter to Theophilus – to us – that we may have certainty concerning these things about Jesus we have been taught. He wants us to KNOW that we can know it is true. That Luke has personally walked and talked with people who saw it all firsthand.
Luke begins with Zechariah and Elizabeth. Zechariah is a priest in the temple of the Lord. The job of the priests were to offer sacrifices to the Lord for the Israelite nation. You see, sin requires sacrifice; requires blood. On this special day, his name is selected by lot for a holy assignment. He is to enter the temple to burn incense.
While in the temple, an angel appears and tells him he will have a son with Elizabeth. This is something Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed about for so many years, but have long since given up on because of their old age. This son will be special, filled with the Holy Spirit and make ready for the Lord a prepared people. Naturally, Zechariah questions this news from the angel. He knows how long they have prayed for this…and how old Elizabeth is. His disbelief leaves him temporarily mute, unable to verbally share the remarkable things he has just heard and seen.
True to God’s word, Elizabeth becomes pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God. God’s timing is perfect. He is never late.
Meanwhile, in Nazareth, another angel appears, this time to Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary. Again the angel tells of a child to be born. This son will also be special. His name will be Jesus. He will be a king on the throne of David…a kingdom that will not end. Like Zechariah, Mary questions this news from the angel. She is unmarried. A virgin. But nothing is impossible for God. The Holy Spirit will be upon her. God’s timing is perfect. Though seemingly too early for the young and unwed Mary, God is never too early or too late.
Mary goes to visit her older cousin, Elizabeth, who she learns is also pregnant. The child in Elizabeth’s womb – John the Baptist – leaps in his mother’s womb at the presence of Mary and the child in her womb, Jesus. He knows.
Blessed is she – IS WE -- who believe there will be fulfillment of what was spoken from the Lord.
Mary sings a beautify song of praise. The work of the Lord; the plans of the Lord are worthy of worship and praise...even when we don't understand at the time and it doesn't seem to be the ideal way it will all go down from the view of our human eyes.
Zechariah begins to speak upon the birth of his son. He declares the name of the child…John. Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and speaks prophecy about Jesus to come and his newborn son. John will be called the prophet of the Most High. He will prepare His way.
The child who the last prophet, Malachi, spoke of before 400 years of silence has been born to prepare the way for the Messiah. The wait is over.
When God’s plan starts unfolding, you’ll understand why it took so long. Be patient and faithful. Your time is coming. Steep yourself in the Word so you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. The future may look different than you envision – it certainly did for both Elizabeth and Mary – but God’s plan is perfect and beautiful, and you are a glorious part of it. Blessed is she who believes that there will be a fulfillment of what has been spoken by the Lord.
Why do you think Luke wants to present this account of the story of Jesus for Theophilus?
What do you think about John leaping in his mother’s womb when Mary (with Jesus) enters?
Why do you think Zechariah was temporarily made mute in his doubt, but not Mary in hers?
What does this first chapter tell you about God’s timing?