Luke chapter 1

Luke writes to Theophilus. Gabriel foretells the births of John and Jesus. Mary visits Elizabeth. Mary’s song of praise. John is born. The prophecy of Zacharias.

 


 

LUKE WRITES TO THEOPHILUS

 

VERSE 1. Since many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us,

many have undertaken to compile a narrative. The events of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were not of trivial interest. Many people looked into them. Many people had compiled narratives.

The fact that many people were compiling narratives about Jesus Christ indicates the great interest that people had in him. Compiling a narrative is hard work. People were making heavy investments of their time and effort in order to more fully come to know Jesus Christ.

 

VERSE 2. even as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word delivered them to us,

eyewitnesses. Luke went straight to the eyewitnesses. He interviewed the people who were with Jesus from the beginning. He ignored hearsay and legend.

In our day, some people claim that the Bible is based on hearsay or legends passed down for decades. However, this verse says otherwise. Luke did not go to gossipers, but rather to eyewitnesses.

servants of the word. That is, “ministers” of the Word. Luke consulted with authentic ministers. They were not fringe people. They were not prone to exaggeration or confabulation. Rather, they were people committed to the truth about Jesus Christ.

 

VERSE 3. it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus;

having traced the course of all things accurately. Luke investigated everything accurately. He was a physician. As a doctor, he would have had a scientist’s penchant for investigating details. We can imagine that his investigation was comprehensive and carefully done.

Luke’s writing was done in a methodical way. Perhaps you have read a medical paper written by a doctor or scientist. They often write such things for the medical journals. Their writings are in a very orderly sequence.

The Christian message isn’t a fable. It’s trustworthy. Our knowledge of the Lord Christ is based on firsthand apprehension of truth.

from the first. That is, “anew.” Luke did original investigation. He didn’t simply plagiarize other people’s work. He didn’t simply add minor details to other people’s work. No, Doctor Luke’s investigation was new.

to write to you. In those days, to have received this Letter would have been a priceless gift. And in our day, we can read this priceless treasure any time we want.

 

VERSE 4. that you might know the certainty concerning the things in which you were instructed.

know the certainty. Luke is writing so that we can be certain of our beliefs.

 

GABRIEL FORETELLS THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

 

VERSE 5. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the priestly division of Abijah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

 

VERSE 6. They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.

 

VERSE 7. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.

 

VERSE 8. Now while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his division,

 

VERSE 9. according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

 

VERSE 10. The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.

 

VERSE 11. An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

An angel of the Lord appeared. The angel delivers some great news to Zechariah.

In verse 19, we learn that the angel is Gabriel. We first met Gabriel back in Daniel chapters 8 to 10. You may recall that Daniel fasted for three weeks, while Gabriel was in combat with the prince of Persia. Michael took Gabriel’s place, so that Gabriel could deliver the answer to Daniel’s prayer.

 

VERSE 12. Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.

fear fell upon him. Fear seems to be a natural human response to the manifestation of an angel. In verse 30 below, Gabriel tells Mary to not be afraid.

 

VERSE 13. But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

 

VERSE 14. You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth.

 

VERSE 15. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

 

VERSE 16. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God.

many. The effect of John the Baptist would be great. Many will be impacted.

 

VERSE 17. He will 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 prepare a people prepared for the Lord.”

the spirit and power. Not only “spirit,” but also “power.” Do you know the POWER of God in your life?

of Elijah. John will be like the mighty prophet Elijah. In fact, John will be the greatest of all the prophets:

Matthew 11:11. Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.

Luke 1:17. He will 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 prepare a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 7:28. “For I tell you, among those who are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptizer, yet he who is least in God’s Kingdom is greater than he.”

to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children:

Malachi 4:6.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.

Sirach 48:10. Who was recorded for reproofs in their seasons, To pacify anger, before it brake forth into wrath; To turn the heart of the father to the son, And to restore the tribes of Jacob.

Luke 1:17. He will 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 prepare a people prepared for the Lord.”

 

VERSE 18. Zacharias said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

 

VERSE 19. The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.

 

VERSE 20. Behold, you will be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things will happen, because you didn’t believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

Behold. The word “Behold”, from “ἰδοὺ”, means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.

 

VERSE 21. The people were waiting for Zacharias, and they marveled that he delayed in the temple.

 

VERSE 22. When he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. He continued making signs to them, and remained mute.

 

VERSE 23. When the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his house.

 

VERSE 24. After these days Elizabeth, his wife, conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying,

 

VERSE 25. “Thus has the Lord done to me in the days in which he looked at me, to take away my reproach among men.”

take away my reproach. In those days, if a couple could not conceive, the woman was thought to be cursed.

 

GABRIEL FORETELLS THE BIRTH OF JESUS

 

VERSE 26. Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

 

VERSE 27. to a virgin pledged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary.

 

VERSE 28. Having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, you highly favored one! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women!”

 

VERSE 29. But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered what kind of salutation this might be.

 

VERSE 30. The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Don’t be afraid. Fear seems to be a natural human response to the manifestation of an angel, as we saw in verse 12 above.

In our day, we imagine an angel saying to us in our time of need: “Don’t be afraid, for you have found favor with God!”

 

VERSE 31. Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and give birth to a son, and will call his name ‘Jesus.’

 

VERSE 32. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David,

 

VERSE 33. and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.”

 

VERSE 34. Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, seeing I am a virgin?”

 

VERSE 35. The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God.

 

VERSE 36. Behold, Elizabeth, your relative, also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.

 

VERSE 37. For nothing spoken by God is impossible.”

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

nothing spoken by God is impossible. Call to me, and I will answer you. We often forget that God is limitlessly powerful. We often ask such trivial things of him. But he delights when we ask great and mighty things. Read more »

 

VERSE 38. Mary said, “Behold, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” The angel departed from her.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

let it be done to me according to your word. Those words are very courageous! Mary is a person of great faith. Through her courage and faith, the Messiah will arrive. The kingdom of darkness will be conquered for all eternity.

Yet Mary’s path is not attractive. She is a single mother. She is pregnant before marriage. The Law of the Old Testament required that she be stoned to death. She is willing to face that.

Thanks to Mary’s yes, God’s eternal plan of salvation will go to every language and people group on the face of the planet.

 

MARY VISITS ELIZABETH

 

VERSE 39. Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah,

with haste. Mary wasted no time.

 

VERSE 40. and entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

 

VERSE 41. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

VERSE 42. She called out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

 

VERSE 43. Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

the mother of my Lord. Some people insist that marry was only the mother of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, in this verse, Elizabeth does NOT say, “”the mother of the BODY of my Lord.”

 

VERSE 44. For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy!

 

VERSE 45. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!”

NLT translation. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.

Do you believe?

Are you blessed?

 

MARY’S SONG OF PRAISE

NOTE: This passage is also referred to as the Magnificat, as the Canticle of Mary, and as the Ode of the Theotokos

 

VERSE 46. Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 47. My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 48. for he has looked at the humble state of his servant. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 49. For he who is mighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 50. His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 51. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 52. He has put down princes from their thrones. And has exalted the lowly.

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VERSE 53. He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 54. He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 55. as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.”

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his offspring. Or his “seed.”

 

VERSE 56. Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her house.

 

JOHN THE BAPTIST IS BORN

 

VERSE 57. Now the time that Elizabeth should give birth was fulfilled, and she gave birth to a son.

 

VERSE 58. Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.

 

VERSE 59. On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

 

VERSE 60. His mother answered, “Not so; but he will be called John.”

 

VERSE 61. They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.”

 

VERSE 62. They made signs to his father, what he would have him called.

 

VERSE 63. He asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” They all marveled.

 

VERSE 64. His mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue freed, and he spoke, blessing God.

 

VERSE 65. Fear came on all who lived around them, and all these sayings were talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea.

 

VERSE 66. All who heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, “What then will this child be?” The hand of the Lord was with him.

The hand of the Lord was with him. Is the hand of the Lord with you? How can you let his hand become even stronger?

 

THE PROPHECY OF ZACHARIAS

NOTE: This passage is also referred to as the Canticle of Zechariah

 

VERSE 67. His father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,

 

VERSE 68. “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people;

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 69. and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 70. (as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old),

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VERSE 71. salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 72. to show mercy toward our fathers, to remember his holy covenant,

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VERSE 73. the oath which he swore to Abraham, our father,

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VERSE 74. to grant to us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, should serve him without fear,

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VERSE 75. in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.

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VERSE 76. And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,

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VERSE 77. to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins,

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to give knowledge of salvation to his people. This is a part of the mission of Jesus Christ. But what does it mean? Specifically, what did it mean to people back then?

knowlege. The Greek word is γνῶσιν (“gnōsin”). It means knowledge, doctrine, wisdom.

salvation. The Greek word is σωτηρίας (“sōtērias”). It means welfare, prosperity, deliverance, preservation, salvation, safety.

by the remission of their sins. This is a part of the mission of Jesus Christ. But what does it mean? Specifically, what did it mean to people back then?

remission. The Greek word is ἀφέσει (“aphesei”). It means a sending away, a letting go, a release, pardon, complete forgiveness.

sins. The Greek word is ἁμαρτιῶν (“hamartiōn”). It means missing the mark.

 

VERSE 78. because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the dawn from on high will visit us,

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

 

VERSE 79. to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel of Luke and from the entire Bible.

to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. This is a part of the mission of Jesus Christ. But what does it mean? Specifically, what did it mean to people back then?

to shine on those. The Greek word is ἐπιφᾶναι (“epiphanai”). It means appear, shine upon.

darkness. The Greek word is σκότει (“skotei”). It means darkness, either physical or moral.

Many people are in spiritual darkness. They need us to shine the light of Jesus Christ into their lives. Will you take part in the Ministry of Evangelism?

shadow. The Greek word is σκιᾷ (“skia”). It means a shadow, shade, thick darkness, an outline.

of death. The Greek word is θανάτου (“thanatou”). It means death, physical or spiritual.

to guide our feet into the way of peace. This is another part of the mission of Jesus Christ. But what does it mean? Specifically, what did it mean to people back then?

to guide. The Greek word is κατευθῦναι (“kateuthynai”). It means make straight, put in the right way, direct.

the way. The Greek word is ὁδὸν (“hodon”). It means a way, road, journey, path.

of peace. The Greek word is εἰρήνης (“eirēnēs”). It means peace, peace of mind, invocation of peace, the health (welfare) of an individual.

Many Christian believers need to be guided into the way of peace. Will you take part in the Ministry of Discipleship?

2 Corinthians 4:6. seeing it is God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

into the way of peace. Another part of the mission of Jesus Christ will be to guide us into the way of peace.

Yet in our day, many Christians are emblematic of anger and intolerance and bigotry.

 

VERSE 80. The child was growing, and becoming strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

becoming strong in spirit. By God’s grace, let’s do the same. Let’s grow strong in spirit!

How do we become strong in spirit?

 


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LUKE

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

RESOURCES: SummaryOutline, Memorize, Commands, Spirituality

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: Todd Van Natta

I was given a great gift. It is to be passionate about Jesus Christ and the Bible and the spiritual life. I am a Christian believer. I believe in Jesus Christ. I’m in love with Jesus! I believe the Bible. I love the Bible. For decades, I've been reading it cover-to-cover, again and again and again. I’ve memorized a whole lot of Bible verses. Most of all, I want the Bible to help us fall more deeply in love with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with other people, and with ourselves. And I've been reading the great writings from the entire Christian heritage for decades. At Explore the Faith, I share what I have discovered.

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