There is a lot in this very first chapter of Luke to consider and absorb. Starting off with the fact that Luke was a gentile believer who did not actually have a first hand account of Jesus. According to tradition, Luke spent a lot of time gathering information from others who had first hand accounts. He apparently spent time with Mary to capture her story from her first hand account. From a historical sense, Luke also wrote the book of Acts, which can be read with the book of Luke straight through as a historical account of Jesus and the early church.
I love that Zechariah was chosen by “lot” to serve in the temple that day. What was seemingly a random occurrence, lead to the angel Gabriel announcing John the Baptist’s coming into the world and the important role he would play. By the way, this past year when we studied the book of Daniel we learned that there are only two angels that are named, Michael and Gabriel. Michael leads in conquest and Gabriel always bring important messages from God.
Finally, there is so much about the coming of Jesus as the messiah that can not be denied it came from God. First, both John and Jesus were names give directly by God. Neither man was named by family tradition or human distinction. Both came from specific meaning given by God Himself. Second, Mary who was a young, poor, female (all strikes against her in that society) was chosen directly by God to take on the greatest task in human history; bringing the Messiah into the world. And finally, when Elizabeth greeted Mary, she chose to great her as “The mother of my Lord”. I don’t think we can deny the Holy Spirit’s hand in revealing that to her.
I love how it shows the two different reactions to the birth announcements. On one hand one questions its possibility and on the other hand one, who by the way is unwed and has a lot more to loose, who simply resigns herself to God’s will. I wonder why Zechariah, a man of God, would doubt. And then when it comes time to name the baby I don’t understand why the people even question Elizabeth when she says his name is John. Did they not understand or see God’s hand in this pregnancy? I’m sure Zechariah must have communicated to them what happened in the temple. That the angel had already told him it would be a boy and to name him John. Why question it? But in truth, I suppose we do the same thing. It is so clearly a God thing and I personally will still “test” it just to be sure.
Brian Manning said:
I simply can’t imagine what must have gone through Mary’s mind when the angel told her that she was pregnant and by the way, the baby she was carrying was going to be the long awaited Messiah! Having been a participant in an unplanned pregnancy, the fear that Mary must have felt was clearly overwhelming. I love the angel’s response to her concern, 37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
We need to remember that and reflect on this story. God used a series of unsuspecting people to give us deliverance from our sins. Nothing is impossible with God!
Heather Wogan Brett said:
I’ve often wondered why Mary traveled to see Elizabeth. Is it because she hoped to find support or answers for her coming trials there with her? Perhaps she was seeking to confirm what Gabriel had told her in her own way (to see if Elizabeth was indeed expecting).
I love that she caught on so quickly to the angels announcement and think that must be a reflection of her relationship with God. I say that because she submitted to the news very quickly; her response is one I think I need to learn from. v38 needs to be part of my vocabulary (or at least practice it more readily) – “I am a servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” I am, I suppose like many, in that those words are more readily used when the outcome is going to bear good things. it can’t be overlooked here that this response was given to news that only brought good things eternally, certainly not in the next few months. Oh that I would more readily focus on eternal things.
Dino Evangelista said:
Your last statement about focusing on eternal things is very true. The blessing of being the mother of the Savior of the World, the Messiah, would bring a lot of pain even past the next few months of Mary’s life. She would face ridicule from others, her fiance would come close to leaving her, and ultimately she would have to witness her Son being rejected by the world he came to save and be crucified on the cross. That is a tremendous burden for anyone to bear but she willingly took it, knowing that it was all part of God’s ultimate and perfect plan. It is definitely tough to focus on the eternal, but the ultimate and eternal blessing is always worth it!
Cheryl Brehm said:
wow, this chapter has so much in it, i could dissect it all day long! though, one thing in particular stands out to me. when gabriel talked to zachariah, he ended his statement with, “every word i’ve spoken to you will come true on time- God’s time (the Message).” i think it’s very interesting that God waited so long to answer zachariah and elizabeth’s prayers. i can only imagine the DECADES of tears they suffered in the meantime. of course hindsight is always 20/20…it makes sense why God waited. He wanted to prove this miracle was His doing, so no one would doubt the anointing John had on his life. it’s the same reason He used mary. it makes me consider the high price we are asked to pay when we lay our lives down at God’s throne, just like they did. there are so many times in my life i get frustrated with God’s timing and reasons for letting crappy things happen. zachariah, elizabeth, and mary remind me that this life isnt about me…it’s about surrendering to His bigger plan. every day that passes, i’m inspired to feel more grateful to play a part in it, no matter how small.