Morning Bible Study
Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.
He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.
In writing his book, Paul made use of other older documents like the Gospel
of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.
We’re looking at the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.
We’ve seen the angel Gabriel telling old Zacharias that he and Elizabeth
were going to have a baby – John the Baptist.
We’ve seen Gabriel appear to Mary and tell her that she was going to have a
1:57-66 John is born
:57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought
forth a son.
:58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great
mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
:59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child;
and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias.
:59 they came to circumcise the child
Ever since the time of Abraham, Jewish boys were circumcised on the eighth
day. (Gen. 17:12)
A baby boy’s name wasn’t official until the day of circumcision.
Zacharias has been unable to speak for nine months, since the time Gabriel
talked with him.
The friends just assume the baby will be named after his father.
Zacharias means “Yahweh remembers”
:60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
John means “Yahweh is gracious”
:61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is
called by this name.”
:62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.
:63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is
John.” So they all marveled.
The word for “tablet” is literally a “small tablet”, so they gave Zach an
:64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he
spoke, praising God.
:65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were
discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea.
:65 all these sayings were discussed
People were “liking”, “sharing”, and “posting” all these things on
The things that were happening to Zacharias and Elizabeth were the
“trending” items on Twitter.
:66 And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts,
saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with
:66 the hand of the Lord was with him
This is a phrase used over 30 times in the Bible, and it speaks of God’s
I think you could make a case that it is synonymous with the work of the
Before he was even conceived, the angel Gabriel had said of John,
1:15b NKJV) …He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his
1:67-80 Zacharias speaks
:67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and
:68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and
redeemed His people,
:69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His
:70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been
since the world began,
:71 That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who
:71 That we should be saved from our enemies
This is the main hope of what the Messiah would do.
He would save them from their enemies.
:69 salvation … David
God promised David that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David.
:72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His
:73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
:74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
:75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
:74 delivered from the hand of our enemies
This was one of the promises that God gave specifically to Abraham regarding
his descendants (vs. 73).
The promise came during a very difficult time for Abraham.
Abraham had always wanted to have a son, and finally the day came when God
gave him the promised son, Isaac.
But in Genesis 22, we are told that when Isaac was a young man, God asked
Abraham to take Isaac up to Mount Moriah, and sacrifice him.
Abraham had learned a long time ago that he needed to do what God told him,
so he took a bundle of wood, and walked Isaac up to the top of the mountain.
Isaac wondered what kind of sacrifice this would be since they had not
brought an animal along to sacrifice.
(Genesis 22:8 NKJV)
Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt
In obedience, Abraham tied up his son, put him on the wood, raised his
knife, when the Angel of the LORD stopped Abraham.
NKJV) —15 Then the Angel of the Lord
called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn,
says the Lord, because you have
done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—17 blessing I
will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars
of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your
descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
“Possessing the gates” of their enemies meant they would
conquer them (vs. 17).
This is the same thing that Zacharias is now speaking
18 In your seed
all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My
It was “In your seed”, a single seed, that all the nations
would be blessed.
This was speaking of the Messiah.
Turning around, Abraham found a ram caught in a bush, and
that ram took the place of his son in the sacrifice.
What was happening with Abraham?
Mount Moriah is in Jerusalem.
One day David would purchase a plot of land and Solomon
would build a Temple there.
One day, a man would die on a cross there.
God was asking Abraham to paint a picture for the world.
It was the picture of a Father sacrificing His Son.
It is exactly what God Himself would do one day, in order
to save us from our sins.
Deliverance comes from sacrifice.
:74 that we … might serve Him
serve – latreuo – to
render religious service or homage, to worship
This is the word used to describe how the priests and Levites “serve” God
through the offering of sacrifices, prayers, incense, etc.
This is a word that would be quite familiar for Zacharias the priest to use.
He understands how to worship, how to “serve” God.
Saved to Serve
When you open your heart to Jesus and you are saved, God isn’t finished
He doesn’t push us away and say, “That was nice, now go on your way…”
He has plans beyond our salvation.
He wants us to serve Him.
NKJV) —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are
His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand that we should walk in them.
God has things for us to do, ways that we too can “serve”
In vs. 74, Zach even describes how we are to serve God.
Under the Law of Moses, the priests would tremble a bit as they performed
Two of the first priests to enter into the Holy Place were burnt with fire
because they didn’t understand the holiness of God (Lev. 10)
We no longer need to fear when we approach God.
Because Jesus has paid for all of our sins, we can come to God with
4:16 NKJV) Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may
obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Holiness and righteousness
Both words speak about doing the things that are right, things that are holy,
things that are pure, in ways that have integrity.
We shouldn’t live our lives any longer the way we used to:
NLT) —5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have
nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be
greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this
world. 6 Because of
these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this
world. 8 But now is
the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty
language. 9 Don’t lie to
each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked
Instead, we live our lives to serve God, with a new attitude:
NLT) —12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe
yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and
patience. 13 Make
allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.
Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all,
clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
:76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you
will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
:76 to prepare His ways
Gabriel had told Zacharias that John would fulfill a prophecy in the
ancient book of Isaiah:
(Isaiah 40:3 NKJV) The voice of
one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make
straight in the desert A highway for our God.
John’s ministry would be about preparing people to meet Jesus.
:67 And you, child, will be called
Something to say
Zacharias hadn’t been very faithful.
He had been unable to speak for 9 months because of his unbelief.
Then he was filled with the Spirit
He prophesied over his son
He had things to say to his son from God.
I’m not sure we’re going to always have a clear, prophetic idea about our
kids like Zacharias had.
But we’ve still got things we could say to our kids.
Video: Tim Hawkins – Parents Rock
NKJV) And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring
them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Dads, God wants you to help your kids know what it means
to follow the Lord.
Parents, God wants us to be passing on what we know about the Lord to our
NLT) Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when
you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and
when you are getting up.
I love what Kim Beller posted on Facebook a few days ago…
There is nothing greater than hearing my
Husband- the guy God chose for me- putting our kids to bed with scripture from
his heart...Teaching them to use it as a weapon in their tiny but strengthened
hands and knowing they're falling asleep with confidence in a faithful God
I couldn't feel more blessed right now to know
that my partner in life shares this great conviction- to teach them that in
this shaky world, we Know the One who doesn't change; our Rock, our Fortress
& our Deliverer.
Have something to say.
:77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their
We will come back to this…
:78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on
high has visited us;
:79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To
guide our feet into the way of peace.”
:79 light to those who sit in darkness
Jesus would come to give light to people living in a dark place.
Zacharias is actually quoting from,
(Isaiah 9:1–2 NKJV)
—1 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is
distressed, As when at
first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And
afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond
the Jordan, In Galilee
of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who
dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
Because of this Scripture (Is. 9:1-2), Jesus made sure that when He began
His ministry, He made town of Capernaum His home base. Capernaum was in Galilee, located on the road
known as “the way of the sea”. (Mat. 4:12-14)
:80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts
till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
:80 was in the deserts
There is much desert in the southern land of Judea.
In particular, the land around the Dead Sea is desert.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a place called Qumran.
We now know that there was a community of Jews living in Qumran at the time
of John the Baptist.
The group called themselves the “yahad”,
or the “oneness” group.
They believed that the priests in Jerusalem had become corrupt.
They believed the Messiah was coming.
They practiced “mikvah”, which
was a type of “ritual cleansing”, we call it “baptism”.
There is even in their records the name of an individual among them known
Video: Qumran map clip
The community at Qumran is located near the Dead Sea, and it’s about 6
miles from the river Jordan.
The area is all desert, until you reach the Jordan River.
Back to …
:77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their
:77 salvation … by the remission of their sins
This was to be part of John’s message.
Salvation by forgiveness
The salvation that John would be talking about wasn’t the stopping of the
latest ISIS threat.
It would be salvation from an eternity in hell.
And that can only come when God forgives you of your sins.
The word “remission” is what forgiveness is all about.
This is what happens when you make a choice to turn from your sins and
believe in Jesus. Jesus said,
3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus died so that your sins would be paid for.
When you believe in Jesus, you are accepting His payment
for your sins.
You are saved from perishing in hell for eternity when you
When you believe, you have an eternity in heaven waiting
The forgiveness we receive from God has an “earthly” connection.
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He used this prayer: (read with me)
6:9–15 NKJV) —9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be
Your name. 10 Your kingdom
come. Your will be
done On earth as it
is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we
forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is
the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 14 “For if you
forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you
do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If God’s forgiveness of you is real, then you MUST learn
to how forgive others.
It might not happen overnight. You might need to grow toward it. But you need to do it.
God wants you to represent Him. He forgives.
So should we.
The word Zacharias used for “remission” was:
remission – aphesis
(“let go”) – release from bondage or imprisonment; forgiveness or pardon,
of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed)
I want to show you a video from the highest grossing
animated feature of all time. The story
is intriguing, but I just want you to listen for three words ... "let it
Video: Frozen - Let It Go
Forgiveness is about learning to “let it go”.
You don’t “cling” to what the other person has done to
you. You don’t “hold on” to the thoughts
This is what God has done for us.
This is what we owe to others.