¶ Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration
of those things which are most surely believed among us,
.2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
.3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
- Declaration ... believed among us We see that Luke gathered
information from those who had seen the Lord and His activities. Of course
the Holy Spirit guided the compilation, or "treatise" as Luke calls it
in his introduction to the book of Acts ac0101.
3 - Most excellent A way to address people of high rank ac2326, ac2403, ac2625.
3 - Theophilus The Greek name indicates that he was a Gentile. It means "friend of God." Luke must have been a personal friend of Theophilus.
4 - Certainty Reading the inspired word with a willing heart brings conviction. May we ever sense the sacredness of the writing that God inspired 2pe0119.
¶ There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest
named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters
of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
.9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
| 5 -
of Herod The reign brought persecution to the Jews.
5 - Zacharias Meaning "Yahweh remembers" but God seemed to have forgotten Zacharias and Elizabeth. For another with that name see 2ch2420.
5 - The course of Abia David had organized the ministry of priests establishing 24 shifts or tours of duty 1ch2401, 2ch0814. The course of Abia or "Abijah" was the eighth 1ch2410.
6 - Righteous Apparently noted because most were wicked.
7 - No child Considered a curse by the culture. Some considered it divine punishment. God had worked in the past through childless couples ge1130, ge1717, ge1811, ge2521, ge3022, 1sa0102.
9 - His lot "he was chosen by lot .... to go into the temple of the Lord to burn incense. The office of burning incense was esteemed the most honorable of all. It was assigned by lot for each day among the priests of the course, and no person could perform it more than once." (Family Bible Notes).
9,10 - Incense Notice that prayer of the people is associated with the burning of incense. This helps us understand that the incense of the sanctuary represent our prayers. Compare re0803.
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right
side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
.13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
- An angel He was "Gabriel" who had
appeared to Daniel, v19,
11 - Right side From the point of view of the altar which faced East – a place of honor. See mt2533, ac0755, he0103. Compare ec1002.
13 - Prayer Zecharias may have been impressed to pray for the coming of the Messiah.
15 - Be great John the Baptist was not great in most of the ways people think of greatness. See mt1111.
15 - Neither wine nor strong drink "Wine" is from oinos. "Strong drink" is from Heb. and Aramaic, sikera. The two beverage terms were intended as synonyms like the two happiness words in the previous verse. See on 1ti0303.
| 16 And many of the children
of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
.17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, 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.
- Go before him As prophesied by Isaiah is4003,
and Malachi mal0301.
17 - Of Elias Called "Elijah" in the OT. See 1ki1701, 1ki18. Turning hearts to the Lord was preparing the people to understand the Lord who would come in human flesh. See is40, mal0301, mal0405, 1ki2117, mt0307.
And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am
an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
.19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
.22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
- Whereby shall I know? Zecharias did not simply accept
the Lord's word through the angel. In the same way we may not completely
trust God. For similar doubts see ge1811,
25 - Take away my reproach See the similar experience of Rachel ge3023. Elisabeth's reason for going into isolation is unclear but it may well have been for a time to prepare to be mother to the the one who would introduce and baptize the Messiah.
¶ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto
a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused [engaged to be married] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
For clarification and more information see the notes page for this chapter.
- Gabriel was sent Some claim he was the father of the child,
Jesus. This is a violation of the text here and fathering children is not
an ability of angels mt2230.
26 - Nazareth God chose this wicked town and humble parents and a stable for the Saviour to come from. No one has an excuse. See map, left edge.
27 - Virgin A pure person re14c.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured,
the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
.31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
.32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
- Hail From chaire, a common greeting. The verb form
here indicates a command and could also translate to "rejoice" or "peace
be unto you" lu2436, ph0228.
28 - Highly favored Literally "endowed with grace." Mary was the recipient of divine grace as we all are. See on ep0106. She was never a source of grace ac0412.
30 - Found favor with God Why did Gabriel say this? Read the verse again. The honor of bearing the Redeemer in human form was indeed a blessing from God as Elizabeth confirmed. On one other occasion a woman called out a blessing for Mary and Jesus corrected her lu1127. He used only the respectful term "woman" when He spoke to her from the cross jn1926. Also see on mt1246.
31 - Name, Jesus Matthew explains more. mt0127.
32 - David's throne See the original promise in 2nd Samuel 2sa0713.
39 ¶ And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country
with haste, into a city of Juda;
40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
.42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
.34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
.35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
.36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
.37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
34, 35 - Overshadow Thus the Saviour was born to us is0906 – One who is both fully human and fully divine he0214 – a concept beyond our full understanding. See on mt0120.
35 - Son of God Gabriel showed the divine relationship of the one who was to be born to Mary by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. The term has several implications. By comparison, "Son of Man" emphasizes His human nature.
36 - Sixth month So this would be the time between the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus.
42 - Blessed ... among women The angel had made a similar statement v28. See on jg0524.
| 46 And Mary said, My
soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
- My soul Or, "I Myself," Or , "all aspects of me."
46 - Magnify That is, to exalt or make great. 1sa0201, ps10301.
47 - God my Saviour She needed salvation as we all do. The Bible does not indicate that she is any different from others in this respect. All have sinned ro0323. Compare 1sa0201 (linked above).
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from
henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
- Low estate She was from a poor family yet God had honored
her. Compare ge3013.
48 - Call me blessed Recognize that I have been honored or made happy. As Leah had felt ge3013.
49 - Holy is his name Her awe before the Lord. The name of Jesus was similarly respected ac0306, ac0410. Compare de1021, ps11109.
50 - Fear him Do you see the assurance in this verse? Compare ps10317.
51 - The proud See pr1618, lu1411.
51 - Shewed strength Strength of the right arm in the OT indicates power and the Lord's action for His people. Compare ps08910.
51 - Imagination From dianoia meaning "mind" or "understanding."
| 52 He hath put down
the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
- Mighty From dunastai. They
were powerful people. Compare 1sa0207,
53 - Filled ... hungry ... rich ... empty See mt0506.
54 - Servant From pias. In is4108, Jacob or Israel is seen as the Lord's servant. Later the Messiah is seen as the servant. See is5213. Compare ps09803, is4108.
55 - As he spake The Lord had given many promises. For example: ge2217, de0712, mi0720. Compare 2sa2251, mi0720.
¶ Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and
she brought forth a son.
.58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
.59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.
65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
66 And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.
57 - Full time The ancient Alexandrian church considered the birth of John the Baptist to be April 23. (They later changed the day to be celebrated for the event to June 24 to harmonize with the way the church worshipped.) lu0208. The April date is reasonable although we cannot be certain. Jesus' birth six months later would have been around October 19 figuring 30 days per month or October 24 if using a modern calendar. See on v36.
¶ And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied,
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
.69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
.72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
- Zacharias prophesied Important for understanding the ministry
69 - Raised horn of salvation Christ was a power for salvation.
72 - Remember covenant Daniel had said that the Messiah would confirm the covenant with many for one week da0927. Also see the note for da1122-covenant.
And thou, child [John the Baptist], shalt be called the prophet of the
Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
.78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
.79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
.80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
- Prophet of the Highest An honorable calling for
John the Baptist.
78 - Dayspring The angel who said "wait," delaying the blowing of the four winds ascended out of the east re0702a.
80 - Deserts Thought to be the "wilderness of Judea" mt0301 where he would be uninfluenced by the society of his time and where he could commune with God. Jesus apparently had not met Him unless as a child. The Holy Spirit guided John the Baptist in identifying Jesus jn0133.
80 - Day of his showing We assume this to be the age of thirty as specified for the beginning of ministry as a priest. Being the son of a priest, he was qualified although he didn't enter the priesthood nu0403.
||Luke home||Contact||Commentary home|