Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 1:18-33

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Luke 1:18

Zechariah knew the stories of God miraculously giving children to the elderly and barren (see Gen. 11:30; 25:21; 29:31; Judg. 12:2-3; 1 Sam. 1:15). This was evidence of his unbelief (v. 20; see 11:16; Mark 11:18; Acts 13:11).

Luke 1:19

Gabriel. One of only three angels named in the Bible. He previously spoke to the prophet Daniel (8:16; 9:21). He had the special privilege of standing in God's presence. This gave his message authority. If Gabriel came from God, so did the good news he brought for Zechariah.

Luke 1:20

silent, unable to speak. Both a rebuke for disbelief as well as a sign for God's word (see Ezek. 3:26; 24:27). The repetition of the phrase emphasized something given (silence) and something taken away (speech). Thus, Zechariah was made deaf and mute. This explains the hand signs later used to communicate with him (v. 62). This also means Zechariah was temporarily disqualified from serving as a priest (Lev. 21:16-23). until the day these things take place. Zechariah's impairments would only last until the promise was fulfilled by John's birth. See WCF 11.5.

Luke 1:21

Normally, the priest would offer a blessing after exiting the temple (Num. 6:24-26). Zechariah's delay could have led them to fear God's judgment (see Lev. 10:16-20; 16:1-2).

Luke 1:24-25

It is unclear why Elizabeth secluded herself. Nevertheless, like Rachel before her (Gen. 30:23), she rejoiced in God's grace that removed her shame of childlessness.

Luke 1:26

sixth month. Of Elizabeth's pregnancy (v. 25). Nazareth. Nowhere mentioned in the Old Testament. It was an obscure town that needed to be identified as being in Galilee. See note on 1:5–2:52.

Luke 1:27

virgin engaged. Mary is introduced as a young woman about to be married. She had not been with a man before this. In Jewish culture, she was already legally married to her betrothed beginning at engagement. Joseph. Her betrothed husband who was a descendent of David, just as messiah would be (vv. 31-32; 2 Sam. 7:12). See WCF 8.2; WLC 37, 46; WSC 22.

Luke 1:28

highly favored. Mary is the recipient of God's grace (v. 30). Despite her lowly status as an unmarried woman in an unimportant town, God blessed her (see 1 Cor. 1:26-27). Moreover, he would be with her through her time of carrying the Messiah (vv. 31-33).

Luke 1:31-33

Gabriel described the uniqueness of the son's person and work. Jesus. Greek form of the Hebrew name Yehoshua, which means the Lord is salvation (see 2:11; Matt. 1:21). great. Unlike John who was great in the sight of the Lord (v. 15), Jesus is great without qualification (Mic. 5:4). Son of the Most High. Most High is a title for God (Gen. 14:18). Unlike John who is a prophet of the Most High (v. 76), Jesus is a Son. Beyond an implicit affirmation of Jesus's divine nature (v. 35), this was his title as Messiah. Jesus fulfilled all four aspects of Nathan's prophetic announcement. As the Messiah, Jesus will have a great name (2 Sam. 7:13), a throne of David (2 Sam. 7:13), divine sonship (2 Sam. 7:14), and an eternal kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16). See WCF 8.2; BC 21, 27.

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