Luke 1 = Zechariah and Baby John!
Bible Background: Luke’s gospel carefully sets the stage for Jesus’ birth. John the Baptist’s birth is foretold, and then Elizabeth conceives. Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel, and then she conceives. John is born and his father tells in a ‘psalm’ how John will prepare the way for Jesus. The Holy Spirit is busy in chapter 1 of Luke!
Digging Deeper: 1. We meet a faithful, older couple: Zechariah (name means “Yahweh Remembers”) and Elizabeth (“God is my oath or abundance”), who are childless. Sound familiar? Their childlessness perhaps led to disappointment and questions about God’s goodness. But God isn’t done yet! When have you needed the reminder that God is still working?
2. Zechariah doubts the news that he will be a dad. The angel takes away his speech as a sign! (That sounds a little harsh!) But it serves to heighten the drama for when the new dad does get to speak again. And with the baby in the Temple on his 8th day, Zechariah ‘sings’ God’s praises. (We call this song the Benedictus, the 1st word of the song in Latin.) Zechariah praises God for God’s faithfulness. What are we willing to praise God gladly and boldly for?
3. Zechariah sings of “the forgiveness of sins”, “the tender mercy of our God”, “light for those…in the shadow of death”, and the promise that God will “guide our feet in the ways of peace.” Which of those sounds most necessary for you today? Which of these promises does our world need most? Can part of our daily prayer be that God would guide our feet, and the whole world-in the ways of peace?
4. “What will this child become?” is a great question for all of us raising children, or caring about today’s kids. What do we want them to become? What does God want them to become? How can we nurture and guide and pray for and protect all children today?
5. John “will give people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.” How important is forgiveness, really? Knowing how much of God’s self, God pours into forgiveness, how much are we willing to invest in it? How can this be a way for people to come to know God’s love?
6. Read Luke chapters 1 and 2 this week, slowly. Take time to ponder these hopes, fears, and promises!