The Gospel of Luke tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
Luke chapter 1
There are 24 chapters in this book
Every one leads us closer to Christmas
This is my commentary
Who was Luke?
A physician, a researcher, a traveling friend of Paul (mentioned in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24), perhaps someone researching facts to help the legal case for Paul while in prison in Rome, a non-Jew, the only Gentile author of a book in the New Testament. He penned not only Luke, but also Acts.
There are several key characters in chapter 1.
* Luke - author
* Theophilus - the one the book/letter/research was written for
* Gabriel - God’s angel sent to Earth to convey messages to Daniel (Old Testament Daniel 9:21), Zechariah, and Mary
* Zechariah - priest and father of John the Baptist
* Elizabeth - mother of John and also cousin to Mary (Aunt to Jesus)
* Herod - the ruler of Judea
* Mary - mother of Jesus
* Joseph - fiancé to Mary and from the lineage of King David
* the book also mentions there were many people who set out to write accounts of these events and many family and villagers from the hill country of Judea who witnessed these things
This book (Luke) is written to someone named Theophilus. Who was he? We don’t know for sure. He could have been a priest (potentially a high priest son of Annas and brother in law to Caiaphas). He could have been a converted Roman prefect and older brother to future emperor Vespasian. He could have been Paul’s lawyer and the research from Luke would have served to be evidence of his innocence while on trial. The name also means “friend of God” so perhaps he was not a person but simply written by Luke to whoever was reading (like me or you) that they may believe the things they have heard over the years. I surmise the book was not written TO us, but it was written FOR us. Luke wrote this book for anyone - Jew or Gentile.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were too old to have kids but he prayed to God for a child. They were good people and one version says they always followed God’s instructions. Important to note that once in a lifetime a priest would be chosen from a certain group to light incense in a special tent. Now was the time for Zechariah to do this. As he entered the private tent - to the right of the altar appeared Gabriel (an important angel in the Bible).
BE ON THE RIGHT SIDE
Right side has significance (Luke 1:11). Jesus stands at the right hand of God, it was written specifically that Gabriel was to the right of this holy table, and right hands are mentioned throughout the Bible as holy. 1 Chronicles 24:10. Also John 21:6 Jesus tells the disciples to cast nets on the right side of the boat. Matthew 25:37 says people on the right are saved. Mark 16:5 said there was an Angel on the right. Ecclesiastes 10:2 says “a wise man’s heart direct him to the right”.
Gabriel told Zechariah (and Mary) to not be afraid and that he was standing in the presence of God. He told Zechariah his prayers were heard and coming true and that his son was to be named John and he would be filled by the Holy Spirit even before he was born. He would have the same spirit as Elijah, would be powerful by helping many people return to God.
Imagine this happening to you. Nobody was inside the tent. Nobody was supposed to be. Suddenly something looking sort of human appears and tells you he was sent from God and that you would have something you physically believed impossible. Zechariah questioned this. Perhaps we all would. Gabriel didn’t just speak to these 2 people - he even told Mary “God can do anything”. He said that after he told her to not be afraid. Our thoughts sometimes instill fear. Someone once told me that fear stands for “false expectations appearing real”. But the Bible says to lift our thoughts on things above and that God’s thoughts are higher than ours.
Because Zechariah didn’t believe - he became mute for the period of time Elizabeth was pregnant. When she realized she was pregnant she didn’t leave the house for 5 months but praised and honored God.
It was around that time that Gabriel visited Mary - a young girl from a poor village called Nazareth. He told Mary she was very special to God and that the Lord was with her. She would have a baby - but not by human conception. The baby would be named Jesus and would have a kingdom to rule with no end.
She was overcome. Wouldn’t you be? This baby would change everything. People would know of this poor young girl becoming the vessel for delivering the King of Kings - she didn’t know this yet but only 3 short decades later she would watch Him be brutally killed but then raised and coming for us again one day. After this encounter - Mary quickly left to see her cousin and as soon as she arrived - Elizabeth said in a loud voice “God has blessed you more than any woman, God will bless the baby and you are the mother of my Lord” and the baby (John) leaped in her belly just as Gabriel told Zechariah it would be.
Elizabeth told Mary she couldn’t comprehend how something so magnificent could happen but that great blessings would be Mary’s because she believed what the Lord said would happen.
The next section of this chapter is Mary praising God. “I praise God with all my heart, He is my savior and I am happy. God showed His care for me. For now until the end of time people will remember how much God blessed me.”
Here are some things Mary said about God:
- His name is holy
- He always gives mercy
- He reaches out His arm
- He shows His power
- He scatters people who think they’re more powerful than He
- He brings rulers off thrones
- He raises up humble people
- He fills the hungry with good things
- He sends rich and haughty away empty handed
- He chose Israel, helps them, and promised to show them mercy
Shortly after Mary left - John was born and 8 days later circumcised. The people thought he would be named after his father. Once Zechariah wrote his name (John) he was able to speak again. All the neighbors became “afraid”, knew this was of God, and continually talked about these things. One version says “they could see the Lord was with this child and wondered who he would become.”
Zechariah then praised God saying:
- God helps and provides freedom
- He gave a savior to come from David’s family
- he praised God and confirmed a prophecy
- he said Jesus would save us from our enemies
- God would show mercy
- God wants us to serve Him without fear
- his baby would be a prophet for God and would go first before the Lord
- his son would prepare a way for Him (Jesus) and make people understand they will be saved by having their sins forgiven
Then he said because of God’s loving mercy,
- a new day from Heaven was shining on us
- it will bring light to those living in darkness and in fear of death
- it will guide us in a way and on a path that brings peace
One version says “the morning light from Heaven is about to break upon us” - what beautiful imagery.
John grew up, becoming stronger in spirit, and lived in the wilderness until it was time for him to come out and tell God’s message to the people.
Lord - thank you for your word and the discernment of the importance of them. You are near. Thank you for helping us to see you more clearly. Thank you for Jesus and this season welcoming his coming to the world. May he come again soon. Amen.
Tomorrow - Chapter 2
If you want to read the book for yourself there are free Bible apps...I use the app so I can read several versions to compare to see what these words speak to my heart.
MUSIC - the universal language
Here’s a song to welcome us to this day: