Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 1:5-56

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Birth Announcements – Luke 1:5-56

God prepared for the coming of his Son by sending someone to prepare the way. Both conceptions are the result of God's supernatural working. One son is given to an elderly couple, announced to a priest in the temple. The other son is given to a humble virgin still engaged to her husband. Luke's parallel between Zechariah and Mary called for a response from readers to receive God's Word like Mary, despite her humble status.

Luke 1:5

Herod. Herod the Great who ruled the region from 37 to 4 B.C. He was one of the few people who was granted the title king by Rome. He was brutal in leadership. He even murdered his family when it served his purposes. Herod was also known for his construction projects, including the expansion of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Judea. Used to describe the general area, which included Judea, Galilee, Samaria, Perea, and Idumea. Herod himself was part Idumean, Zechariah. A descendent of Aaron whose family has survived the exile. His name means the Lord remembers. division of Abijah. Israel's priesthood was grouped into twenty-four divisions for organized service (1 Chron. 23:32; 24:10). Each division had about 1,000 priests. Every priest served during the feast days. The rest of the year, each division served for a week twice a year. These divisions were named for their ancestral head (Ezra 10:16-22; Neh. 12:1-21). Elizabeth. The same name as Aaron' wife (Exod. 6:23), which means either I swear by God or my God is my fortune. Both indicate reliance on God. Zechariah's wife was also of Aaron's lineage. Their marriage would have been viewed as special blessing from God.

Luke 1:6-7

Luke emphasized the piety of Zechariah and Elizabeth (see Ps. 119:1). They were examples of the faithful remnant of believers in Israel. Yet, Luke's description does not mean they were sinless (vv. 18-20). It does show that their barrenness was not the result of sin. Their age is reminiscent of the situation of Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 18:11). See WCF 15:2; WLC 76.

Luke 1:8-9

This was not mere chance, but God's active providence (Prov. 16:33). He willed that Zechariah serve that day. Lots were used to select who would serve due the large number of priests (v. 5). incense. A mixture of ingredients designed to produce a sweet aroma (Exod. 30:34-38). This was offered twice a day along with the morning and evening sacrifices (Exod. 30:7-8). The incense represented Zechariah's own prayers as well as the prayers of the people gathered outside the temple (v. 10). Given the large amount of priests in each division, each priest offered the incense for the daily sacrifice only once in their lifetime, which made this a particularly a significant day for Zechariah.

Luke 1:10

Prayer is a key theme in Luke's Gospel. Luke showed the connection between prayer and significant events in God's plan (see 3:21; 6:12; 9:18, 28-29; 11:1-4; 22:40, 46; 22:32). Luke emphasized the importance of prayer for Christian discipleship.

Luke 1:11

Angelic beings dwell in God's presence (Ps. 68:17; 103:19-22; Mark 12:25; Rev. 4:6-7; 5:1-2, 11-12) and often act as his messengers (Judg. 6:12; Dan. 9:21). They should be distinguished from the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament (Gen. 16:7-13; 22:11-18; 31:7-13; Num. 22:22-35; 2 Sam. 14:4-20).

Luke 1:13-20

The angel's word of promise to Zechariah was the first word Israel had received from God since the close of the Old Testament. It was a significant moment in preparation for Jesus's arrival.

Luke 1:13

prayer has been heard. Zechariah prayed for a son. But as a priest, he would have also prayed for all Israel (Joel 2:17; Mal. 1:9). Perhaps he had prayed for God to send his long-promised Messiah. John. John's name means Yahweh has given.

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