Morning Bible Study
Author of the book: Luke
Luke was a close friend to Paul.
He was the author of the book of Acts.
He wrote the book of Acts after he wrote this gospel. (Acts 1:1)
Luke is the only Gentile to write a portion of the New Testament.
He was a doctor by profession.
He may have been the only believer present when Paul was put to death.
Date written – around 60 AD
Uniqueness of the book:
The gospel has a slant towards Gentiles, taking time to explain Jewish
There are some favorite parables and stories unique to Luke, including –
The good Samaritan (10:29-37)
The prodigal son (15:11-32)
The thief on the cross (23:39-43)
1:1-4 Purpose and method
:1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those
things which have been fulfilled among us,
:2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of
the word delivered them to us,
:3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all
things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent
:4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were
:2 eyewitnesses – autoptes (“autopsy”) – seeing with
one's own eye
This is a medical term that a doctor
would be familiar with.
:3 to write to you an orderly
Luke tells us how he’s put this book together.
He has done research and has accumulated eyewitness accounts (vs.2) of the
things of Jesus’ life.
He’s taken the time to put it all together into a clear order.
:3 most excellent Theophilus
His name means “God lover”
This is the person to whom Luke is writing to.
Some have suggested that this was Luke’s “boss”. In those days, physicians were slaves, owned
by a wealthy person.
Some have suggested that it is written to all believers since “Theophilus”
means “lover of God”.
1:5-10 Zacharias in the Temple
:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest
named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the
daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
:5 Herod, the king of Judea
There were several Herod’s in New Testament times, this was the man known
as “Herod the Great”.
This is the Herod who had all the babies put to death after he heard about
the baby Jesus being born.
:5 a certain priest named Zacharias
This will be John the Baptist’s father.
:5 of the division of Abijah
King David organized the priests to divide up the Temple work, dividing
them into 24 groups.
Abijah was the eighth group (1Chr. 24:10)
Each group of priests would come to the temple twice each year and serve
the Lord for one week at a time, doing the various functions of a priest in the
temple, then go back home and do their regular job.
Zacharias is simply taking his turn at being one of the priests in the
:5 of the daughters of Aaron…Elizabeth
John the Baptist’s mom was also from the lineage of Aaron.
:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
:7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both
well advanced in years.
:7 Elizabeth was barren
For a woman in those days, the worst thing that could ever happen to you
would be for you to be unable to conceive a child.
Women found their identity and value in the children they gave birth to.
Bad things happen to good
I’m sure there were people who wondered why Zacharias and Elizabeth weren’t
I’m sure there were people who wondered if there wasn’t some secret sin in
their family that had resulted in them being childless.
The truth is, not every bad thing that happens to us is a result of sin.
The Bible says,
103:10 NKJV) He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished
us according to our iniquities.
For some of us, God answers our prayers with “No”.
It may be that God wants something different for us than what we want for
Sometimes God’s timing is not ours, and we just need to be patient.
Does this mean God is punishing us? Nope.
An American couple went to England to celebrate their 25th
wedding anniversary. Both the man and the wife were connoisseurs and fanciers
of pottery, antiques, and china. When they came to Sussex they went into a
Little China shop. Their eyes singled out a beautiful little tea cup on the top
shelf. The man said, “Can I see that, that’s the most beautiful tea cup I’ve
ever seen.” And as he was holding the tea cup, the tea cup begins to speak.
It said, “You don’t understand, I haven’t always been a tea cup. There was
a time when I was just red clay. My master took me and he rolled me and he
patted me over and over and over. I yelled out “Let me alone” but he only
smiled and said, “Not yet”. And then I was placed on a spinning wheel, suddenly
I was spun around and around and around. “Stop it I’m getting dizzy,” I said.
The master only nodded and said “Not yet” Then he put me in an oven, I’d never
felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me and I yelled and I knocked
on the door and I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips.
As he nodded his head he said “not yet.” Finally the door did open “whew”, and
he put me on a shelf and I began to cool. “That’s better” I said. And then
suddenly he grabbed me and he brushed me and he began to paint me all over. I
thought I would suffocate, I thought I would gag, the fumes were horrible. And
he just smiled and said, “Not yet”. And then suddenly he put me back into an
oven, not the first one but one twice as hot, and I knew that I was going to die.
And I begged and I screamed and I yelled, and all the time I could see him
through the opening, smiling and nodding his head, “not yet, not yet. And then
I knew that there was no hope, I knew that I wouldn’t make it. I was just ready
to give up when the door opened and he took me out and he put me on a shelf
.Then an hour later he came back and he handed me a mirror and he said “Look at
yourself”. And I did. And I said, “That can’t be me, I’m beautiful!”
“I want you to remember,” he then said, “I know that it hurt to be rolled
and to be patted but if I would have left you, you would have dried out. And I
know that it made you dizzy to spin you around and around on a spinning wheel
but if I had stopped you would have crumbled. And I know that it hurt and it
was hot and disagreeable in the oven but if I hadn’t put you there you would
have cracked. And I know that the fumes were oh so bad when I brushed you and
when I painted you all over, but you see, if I hadn’t done that you wouldn’t
have hardened and there would have been no color in your life. And if I hadn’t
put you in that second oven you wouldn’t have survived for very long. The
hardness would not have held. But now you are a finished product. You are what
I had in mind when I first began with you.”
I imagine it’s possible that a few of you are in the “oven” right now. Some of you are feeling “smothered” by
paint. Some of you are dizzy from being
on the potter’s wheel.
Please remember “not yet”. God knows
what He’s doing.
8:28 NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
:8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order
of his division,
:9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense
when he went into the temple of the Lord.
:10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour
:9 his lot fell to burn incense
There were many roles for the priests to perform while they took their
“tour of duty” in the temple. They would
“cast lots” to determine who got which job. There were 20,000 priests in Israel
at this time, so this particular assignment was a “once-in-a-lifetime”
Three priests were involved in the burning of the incense. The first priest would go into the Temple and
clean out the ashes in the golden altar.
The second priest would then go in and put fresh live coals on the
golden altar. The third priest, which
was Zacharias, would then go in and place incense on top of the coals, burning
the incense to represent the prayers of the people.
This all took place at the hour of prayer each day at 3:00pm.
1:11-17 Gabriel announces John
:11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side
of the altar of incense.
:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon
:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your
prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall
call his name John.
:13 your prayer is heard
Apparently Zacharias had been praying for a child.
I know this is an assumption on my part, but if Zacharias and Elizabeth were
getting pretty old (vs. 7, “well advanced in years”) and they still had no
children, I’m sure they had been praying for children for quite some time.
I believe that sometimes as we continue to pray for something, there may be
times when we get a clear response from God telling us to stop praying for that
But if God doesn’t tell us to stop, maybe we shouldn’t be stopping.
Isaac too prayed for his wife to get pregnant, and one day she got pregnant
and gave birth to twins.
NKJV) …Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
What’s important is to see when Isaac had begun praying.
NKJV) —20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the
daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian. 21 Now Isaac
pleaded with the Lord for his
wife, because she was barren; and the Lord
granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
If I have my math correct, Isaac prayed for 20 years for
Rebekah to become pregnant.
Perhaps you have been wondering if God could ever answer your prayer.
:13 you shall call his name John
His name means “Yahweh is gracious”
:14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
:15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither
wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from
his mother’s womb.
:15 shall drink neither wine nor strong drink
John was a Nazirite.
A “Nazirite” (Num. 6) was a person who had dedicated themselves to God in a
very special way.
The Nazirite vow involved:
1) Abstain from wine
2) Never touch a dead person
3) Never cut your hair (perhaps John’s
hair was quite long!)
:16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
:17 He will also 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 make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
:17 in the spirit and power of Elijah
John will be compared to Elijah several times.
Malachi prophesied that Elijah would come back before the coming of the
Lord (Mal. 4:5)
Though John denied that he was literally Elijah (John 1:21), Jesus said
that John fulfilled the prophecy about Elijah (Mat. 17:10-13), and here we find
He came in the “spirit” of Elijah.
:18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an
old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
:18 How shall I know this?
We’re going to see that Zacharias flat out doesn’t believe what the angel
He knows that he and his wife are simply too old to have kids.
He is apparently so strong in his unbelief that the angel doesn’t even
argue with him or try to convince him.
There will be a fairly harsh consequence for Zacharias’ unbelief.
With some people, God is quite patient with their unbelief.
Mary will seem to have a bit of disbelief when Gabriel tells her that she
is going to become pregnant, even though she’s a virgin and isn’t married.
Yet for some reason, instead of rebuking Mary, Gabriel will explain things
further, and Mary did believe.
Should you know better?
I’d like to suggest that the difference between Zacharias and Mary has
something to do with their age difference and their life experience.
Mary was apparently quite young when she became pregnant.
Some suggest she might have been 16 at the time.
Zacharias is an old man. He’s been
He is also a priest, even serving in the Temple and burning incense during
the time of prayer.
He ought to know better when it comes to trusting God.
Here’s some people who ought to know better …
On some of these, you can’t blame the person.
On others, the person ought to have known better.
For some of you, all this stuff about Jesus is kind of new.
God will be a bit more gracious as you are learning about Him and His ways.
For some of you, you’ve been around the block a few times.
You’ve heard much of this before, and you are still resisting God.
Each time you say “no” to God, your heart gets a little more callused.
The way a callus works, there will be a point where you will no longer
“feel” anything at all.
Whether you are young or old, God wants you to believe Him.
(Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)
without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to
God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who
diligently seek Him.
Most of all, He wants you to believe in His Son, Jesus.
:19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in
the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad
:20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these
things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled
in their own time.”
:21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so
long in the temple.
:21 marveled that he lingered so long
The people usually waited for the incense priest to come back out and
pronounce a blessing on the people, but Zacharias was taking too long.
:22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived
that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained
:23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he
departed to his own house.
:24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself
five months, saying,
:25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me,
to take away my reproach among people.”
:24 she hid herself five months
She probably hid herself until it was totally
obvious to everyone that she was indeed pregnant and wasn’t just making up
:20 you will be mute and not able to speak
Unbelief hinders ministry
A priest had a responsibility to speak.
NKJV) “And they shall teach My people the difference between the
holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the
But Zacharias is now going to be silent when he ought to be speaking.
When nobody can hear what you’re saying, it can leave room for people to
guess all kinds of things about what you’re trying to say.
When you’re watching a football game, sometimes they will zoom in on a
player or a coach, and you can tell that they’re talking, but you can’t hear
what they are saying.
Well some expert lip readers are here to help us out…
Video: NFL bad lip reading
That might be funny when people are talking about football,
but it’s not funny when we ought to be talking about Jesus.
Sometimes God will do what He wants to do whether we believe Him or not.
God was going to give Zacharias and Elizabeth a son whether Zack believed
What motivates you? Fear or Faith? Fear is the opposite of faith. Too often I
make choices based on fear, not faith. I'm afraid something might not work out
right. I'm afraid something bad will happen.
Yet when we choose not to trust God, we miss out on the blessing.
We’ll see that Zacharias will one day speak, and what he will have to say
will be powerful, but for nine months he will have to be silent.
(Psalm 34:8 NKJV) Oh, taste
and see that the Lord is
good; Blessed is
the man who trusts in Him!
“blessed” = “happy” ('esher)
Is there something you need to start trusting God with?
Is it time to start trusting your life into Jesus’ hands?