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Luke 1:57-80

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 15, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words

Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

Some have suggested that Luke might have written this as part of the testimony at Paul’s trial before Caesar.
(hinted at by A.T. Robertson)
Whether Luke meant the Acts to be used in the trial in Rome, which may or may not have come to pass, is not the point.[1]

In writing his book, Paul made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

You see this in some of the elaborate detail we’ve been given at the birth of John the Baptist.
Today we get the hint that Mary herself was one of Luke’s sources.

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 baby.

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.

:58 had shown greatmegaluno to make great, magnify; metaph. to make conspicuous; to deem or declare great; to esteem highly, to extol, laud, celebrate; to get glory and praise

:58 mercyeleos mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them

: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)

(Genesis 17:12 NKJV) —12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant.

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.

:62 they made signsenneuo – signify or express by a nod or a sign

I’m not sure they’re talking with sign language to Zacharias.  He’d mute, not deaf.

They turn and nod to him, expecting him to respond.

:63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled.

:63 a writing tabletpinakidion – a small writing tablet

The word for “tablet” is literally a “small tablet”, so they gave Zach an iPad mini.

Actually, it was probably either a tablet of soft clay and written on with a stylus, or perhaps a wooden tablet written on in ink.

:64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.

:64 immediatelyparachrema – immediately, forthwith, instantly

:64 his mouth was opened

When Zacharias first met the angel Gabriel and was told he would have a son, Gabriel told Zacharias,

(Luke 1:20 NKJV) 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.”

:64 praisingeulogeo – to praise, celebrate with praise; to invoke blessings

:65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea.

:65 fear came on all

The things that were happening shook some people up.

God was definitely at work.

:65 all these sayings were discussed

sayingsrhema – that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing

were discusseddialaleo – to converse together, to talk with

People were “liking”, “sharing”, and “posting” all these things on FaceBook.

The things that were happening to Zacharias and Elizabeth were the “trending” items on Twitter.

:65 the hill country of Judea

Though Jesus was born in the south in Bethlehem, He would be raised up north in Nazareth.

John the Baptist was born and raised in the south.

The area around Jerusalem is all hill country.  Jerusalem itself is at 2,000 feet in altitude.

: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 him.

: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 power.

I think you could make a case that it is synonymous with the work of the Holy Spirit.
Before he was even conceived, the angel Gabriel had said of John,

(Luke 1:15b NKJV) …He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

The phrase is found 33 times in the Old Testament (NKJV), and 3 in the New Testament (all by Luke).

It speaks of the power and work of God.

Sometimes it is a work of judgment.
(1 Samuel 5:6 NKJV) But the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory.
Sometimes it is a work of empowering and guidance.
(1 Kings 18:46 NKJV) Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
(Ezra 7:6 NKJV) this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.
(Ezekiel 1:3 NKJV) the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.

1:67-80 Zacharias speaks

:67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

:68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,

:68 Blessedeulogetos – blessed, praised

:68 He has visitedepiskeptomai – to look upon or after, to inspect, examine with the eye; in order to see how he is, i.e. to visit, go to see one

:68 redeemedlutrosis – a ransoming, redemption; deliverance, esp. from the penalty of sin

The phrase is literally, “He has made redemption”

:68 He has visited and redeemed His people

Zecharias sees this as having already happened because of his own visit by Gabriel and the fulfilled promise of a newborn son.

Yet the true visit by God, and the deliverance from sin will be coming shortly through Jesus.

:69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,

:69 a hornkeras – a horn

:70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began,

:70 since the world began

literally, “from of old” or “from eternity”

:71 That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us,

:71 hatemiseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest

:71 enemiesechthros – hated, odious, hateful; hostile, hating, and opposing another

: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

One of the main themes of the prophets of old was the promise of a coming “deliverer”.

God promised David that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David. (2Sam. 7:13)

(2 Samuel 7:13 NKJV) He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.


God keeps His promises

Zechariah is prophesying that God has kept His promise, and the Messiah is truly on His way.

:72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant,

:72 To perform the mercy

literally, “to do mercy”

:72 to remembermnaomai – to remind; to remember a thin; be mindful of

:73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:

:73 oathhorkos – that which has been pledged or promised with an oath

:73 He sworeomnuo – to swea; to affirm, promise, threaten, with an oath

:74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,

:74 without fearaphobos – without fear, boldly

:74 Being deliveredrhuomai – to draw to one’s self, to rescue, to deliver

:74 Might servelatreuo – to serve for hire; in the NT, to render religious service or homage, to worship; to perform sacred services, to offer gifts, to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for his worship; of priests, to officiate, to discharge the sacred office

This is the word used to describe how the priests and Levites “serve” God through the offering of sacrifices, prayers, incense, etc.

This would be an appropriate word for Zacharias the priest to be using.

:75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

:75 holinesshosiotes – piety towards God, fidelity in observing the obligations of piety, holiness

It describes that which is in harmony with the divine constitution of the moral universe. Hence, it is that which is in accordance with the general and instinctively felt idea of right, “what is consecrated and sanctioned by universal law and consent” (Passow).

:75 righteousnessdikaiosune – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting

The same two words are paired by Paul in,

(Ephesians 4:24 NKJV) —24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

: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) And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”
In obedience, Abraham tied up his son, put him on the wood, raised his knife, when the Angel of the LORD stopped Abraham.
(Genesis 22:15–18 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 about.

18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

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

servelatreuo – 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 with you.
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.
(Ephesians 2:8–10 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” Him.

In vs. 74, Zach even describes how we are to serve God.
Without Fear
Under the Law of Moses, the priests would tremble a bit as they performed their work.
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 confidence.

(Hebrews 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:
(Colossians 3:5–9 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 deeds.
Instead, we live our lives to serve God, with a new attitude:
(Colossians 3:12–14 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.
That changed.
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

Paul wrote,
(Ephesians 6:4 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 kids.
(Deuteronomy 6:7 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 sins,

We will come back to this…

:78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;

:78 tendersplagchnon – bowels, intestines, (the heart, lungs, liver, etc.); the bowels were regarded as the seat  of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.)

:78 mercyeleos – mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them

:78 has visitedepiskeptomai – to look upon or after, to inspect, examine with the eyes; in order to see how he is, i.e. to visit, go to see one; the poor and afflicted, the sick; to look upon in order to help or to benefit

This is the same word translated “visited” in

(Luke 1:68 NKJV) “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,

:78 Dayspringanatole – a rising (of the sun and stars); the east (the direction of the sun’s rising)

(Isaiah 60:19 NKJV) —19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory.

: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 to give lightepiphaino – to show to or upon; to bring to light; to appear, become visible

: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)

(Matthew 4:12–14 NKJV) —12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

:79 To guidekateuthuno – to make straight, guide, direct; of the removal of the hindrances to coming to one

:80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

:80 grewauxano – to cause to grow, augment; to increase, become greater

:80 became strongkrataioo – to strengthen, make strong; to be made strong, to increase in strength, to grow strong

:80 manifestationanadeixis– a pointing out, a public showing forth; a proclaiming, announcing, inaugurating of such as are elected to office

: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 as “John”.
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 sins,

: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,

(John 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 trust Jesus.

When you believe, you have an eternity in heaven waiting for you.

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)

(Matthew 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:

remissionaphesis (“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 go".

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 of revenge.

This is what God has done for us.

This is what we owe to others.


[1] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.