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Luke Bible Study week 2

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A Historian’s Introduction—Luke 1:1-4

Luke 1:1–4 NIV
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Have you ever thought about how the Gospels each begin. Each Gospel starts a little differently.

How the Gospels Each Start

Matthew 1:1 NIV
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Mark 1:1 NIV
1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,
John 1:1 NIV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Is there anything that stands out as different from each of these Beginnings?

Remember last week the four pictures
Matthew—Lion and the Messiah
John—Eagle—Theology and High things
Luke—Calf—the sacrifice, for everyone and the historical truth

Have you ever wanted to learn something for yourself, instead of someone telling you how something works?

Luke presents the opening of his Gospel from the perspective of “I”.
“I” carefully investigated.
“I” decided to write.
Luke wanted to do more than just hear a few stories for himself he wanted to gain a deeper knowledge by studying and examining the historical context of the Gospels.
Bible study is similar to this. It is the moment that we don’t just want someone else telling us what the scriptures say. It is the practice of digging deeper and seeing what the scriptures have to say to us.

A Son Promised—Luke 1:5-25

Luke 1:5–7 NIV
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Luke Mentions King Herod. This is important because it helps us to place the story within a Historical context.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

Zechariah was an ordinary village priest
All descendants of Aaron were Priests by birth
Priests served for two weeks of the year one week at a time with their division.
Priestly duties were decided by lots
A priest could go their whole like and never have the honor of burning the incense
Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron
This made here highly desirable as a wife because of her heritage.
They both were upright or righteous before God.
They were childless and Old

Did anything stand out to you about Zechariah and Elizabeth’s Life?

Elizabeth and Zechariah were considered by many to be the perfect couple. Both were Descendants of Priestly lineage. They served God faithfully and showed a personal devotion and observance of the Law. Yet, they were not blessed with a child.

Childlessness in the Jewish Community

It was considered a tragedy that this perfect couple would not have children. In the Jewish community infertility was thought to be a sign of God’s disfavor or the indication of sin.
Despite their infertility God still had plans to use them. God has done this with others before. Most famously Abraham and Sarah, they were also old in age and had no children. It is Parallels like this that help Highlight the importance of John the Baptists Birth.

Have you ever seen God use what seemed to be impossible circumstances for His good?

Why is it so easy to doubt God in the face of difficulties?

Zechariah’s Epiphany—v. 8-25

Luke 1:8–25 NIV
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

How do you think you would react if an angel suddenly appeared before you?

Why do you think Fear is such a natural response?

An interesting note about the Angel appearing before Zechariah. The fact that Gabriel appears on the right side of the place of Honor is a subtle signal of good news.
Fear is the normal response to the manifestation of the divine. This is because the appearance of the divine is a spontaneous event. We never know when God is going to show up, it is natural that it takes us off guard or that we may miss it.

Does the spontaneous element of the divine cause us to miss those moments?

Gabriel declares that Zechariah’s prayers have been answered. This could be understood in two different ways.
God answered the prayers for a child
God answered the priestly prayer for the deliverance of the Nation
John the Baptist was an answer to prayer in two ways. He both provided a child but also would be the herald of the coming Messiah who would deliver the Jewish people.
The angel follows this with specific instructions about how John is to live his life. These instructions are known as the Nazirite Vow.
Other Famous Nazarites—Samson and Samuel
Samuel was the first Nazarite. His story also parallels John’s.
Both were called to be different. Both were to be filled with the Holy Spirit from Birth. Both were born to barren women.
Both ushered in the reign of Davidic Kingship.
-Samuel anointed David
-John Baptized Jesus.

How does seeing the parallels of the Old Testament and the New Testament deepen the Story?

Why is it so important that John was Born filled with the Holy Spirit?

Zechariah’s and Elizabeth’s Response

How did Zechariah respond to the news of John’s Birth?

How did Elizabeth Respond to the news of John’s Birth?

Do you think you would rejoice or question God? Why?

Next Week

Read Luke 1:26-45
Read the Passage at least three times.
Pray before each reading.
Answer this one question: What does it mean to be blessed?
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