HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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Gospel of Luke Chapter 1
Theme: The purpose of the Gospel; Gabriel appears to Zacharias and announces the birth of John; Gabriel appears to Mary and announces the virgin birth of Jesus; Mary visits Elisabeth; birth of John.
Historically Dr. Luke begins his Gospel before the other synoptic Gospels. Heaven had been silent for over four hundred years when the angel Gabriel broke through the skies, at the golden altar of prayer in the Temple, to announce the birth of John the Baptist. Luke gives us the background as well as the births of John and Jesus.
There are three songs are in this chapter:
#1. Elisabeth's greeting of Mary (verses 42-45)
#2. Mary's magnificat (verses 46-55)
#3. Zacharias' prophecy (verses 68-79
The Purpose Of The Gospel (Mark 1:1-4)
The Preface: Luke does not write of things about which Christians may safely differ from one another, and waver within themselves. Luke writes about the things which are, and should be believed. The doctrine of Christ is what the wisest and best of men of all times have submitted their souls to, with great confidence and satisfaction. Luke writes about the great events upon which our hopes depend, and have been recorded by those who were from the beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, and who were perfected in their understanding of them through Divine inspiration.
Luke tells Jesus' story from the unique perspective of a Gentile, a physician, and the first historian of the early church. Although not an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry, Luke nonetheless was greatly concerned that eyewitness accounts be preserved accurately so that the foundations of Christian belief could be transmitted complete and intact o the next generation. In Luke's Gospel are many of Jesus' parables. In addition, more than any other Gospel, it gives specific instances of Jesus' concern for women.
Luke 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, (KJV)
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand . . . from here to the end of verse 4, Luke gives the reasons for his writing this Gospel. He wrote it and sent to the excellent Theophilus, for the further confirmation of him in the faith of Christ. It seems that many had attempted . . .
To set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us . . . Luke undertook to write and publish a very specific and exact narrative of the birth, life, actions, doctrines, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ Jesus; things which Luke, and other Christians of that time, had the fullest and strongest evidence, and most firmly believed with full assurance of faith. By these many, Luke cannot mean the authentic historians of evangelical facts, such as Matthew and Mark; for they two cannot, with any propriety, be called many; and besides, it is not very clear that they had, as yet, written their Gospels; nor would Luke suggest any deficiency, weakness, and inaccuracy in them, as he seems to do with the fake writers, and other heretics. The things which are most surely believed among us, refers to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the news of His work. ‘Us’ means Luke and people of his time.
Luke 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; (KJV)
Even as they delivered them unto us . . . by whom Luke means, as appears from the later description of them, the twelve apostles, and seventy disciples; who handed down to others the accounts of the birth, life, and death of Christ.
Which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word . . . either of the Gospel, or Christ Himself, the eternal Word of God (Jn.1:1); for from the start of Christ's preaching the Gospel, as soon as He entered His public ministry, He called His apostles, such as Simon, Andrew, James, John and afterwards the seventy disciples (Lk.10:1,17); who were eyewitnesses of Christ, of the Truth of His incarnation, and of His ministry and miracles. These eye witnesses saw, and spoke with Him after His resurrection from the dead and saw Him ascend into Heaven. They were ministers that were called, qualified, and sent out by Him, they waited on Him and they served Him. I think this reveals that Luke was not one of the seventy disciples, as some have thought. For Luke was not an eyewitness himself, nor did he take his account from the apostle Paul, for neither was Paul a minister of the Word from the beginning. Luke was not one of the original witnesses who had seen and heard Jesus, BUT . . . Luke had met some of these witnesses and heard their stories. He spent two years in Caesarea while Paul was in prison there (Acts 24:27). Luke would have found it very easy to travel from there to collect information.
Luke 1:3 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, (KJV)
It seemed good to me also . . . I believe, I know, that Luke was moved to writing by the Holy Ghost. He did NOT undertake this work of himself, it was NOT brought on of his own will, but he was influenced, and directed to it by the Spirit of God, as well as being assisted in it by the Holy Spirit. Of this there is no doubt (2 Tim.3:16-17).
Having had perfect understanding of all things . . . concerning the subject of the Gospel: the conception, birth, ministry, baptism, and death of John the Baptist; concerning the conception, birth, private and public life of Christ, together with His sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension. This refers to "all" to persons, who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, all who have been persistently near to them all, and the meaning being, that Luke had diligently sought after, and had achieved a perfect knowledge of all the affairs of Christ, for he had seriously studied, and had personally spoken with all, or as many as he could, who had seen Christ in the flesh, who were, from the very beginning of Christ’s ministry, who attended Him, that he might have the most certain and definite account of things, that could be arrived at.
From the very first . . . to the last; from the conception of John, the forerunner of the Messiah, which is farther and higher than any other Gospel writer goes, on to the ascension of Christ.
To write unto thee, in order, most excellent Theophilus . . . which regards not so much the order of time, which Luke does not always strictly observe, as the facts of things, related in order, and with great exactness. Who this Theophilus was, to whom Luke writes his Gospel, cannot be for certain. It seems that Theophilus had heard something about the Christian faith. Luke wants to be sure that his friend has the correct information. So, he has decided to write a full and accurate account. He wants Theophilus to understand more completely WHO Jesus was, and WHAT Jesus did and taught. It is possible that Theophilus could have been a civil magistrate in some high office; for although not many were rich and mighty, yet some have been and are called by grace. Most excellent or most noble are words of respect. They mean that Theophilus was an important official. ‘Theophilus’ means ‘friend of God’. It was a common name. Luke wants to give him clear and accurate information about Jesus. Luke had paid attention to every detail that he collected. Now he is going to describe the events in their proper order. This can mean in order of time. It also means that Luke will give a clear and careful account of the facts.
As a medical doctor, Luke knew the importance of being thorough. He used his skills in observation and analysis to thoroughly investigate the stories about Jesus. His diagnosis: The Good News of Jesus Christ is true! You can read Luke's account of Jesus' Life with confidence that it was written by a clear thinker and a thoughtful researcher. Because the Good News is founded on historical truth, our spiritual growth must involve careful, disciplined, and thorough investigation of God's Word so that we can understand how God has acted in history.
Luke 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. (KJV)
That thou mightest know the certainty . . . the end Luke had in writing this Gospel, and sending it to Theophilus, was, that this man might be more strongly assured of and more firmly established in the Truths of the Gospel. Luke indicates both truth and firmness; and the word here used signifies such a certain evidence of things, as may be safely depended on; even
Of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed . . . there was a lot of interest in Jesus at that time, and it seems that many people had written correct, firsthand accounts about Him. Luke may have used these accounts plus all other available resources as his material for an accurate and complete account of Jesus' life, teachings, and ministry. Because Truth was important to Luke, he relied very much on eyewitness accounts. Christianity does NOT say, "Close your eyes and believe," but rather, "Check it out for yourself." The Bible encourages you and me to investigate its claims thoroughly (Jn.1:46. 21:24; Acts 17:11-12) because your conclusion about Jesus IS truly a life-and-death matter to you!
Gabriel Appears To Zacharias
Announcing The Birth Of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-25)
Luke 1:5 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. (KJV)
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea . . . this was Herod, the son of Antipater, sometimes called Herod the Great, and is rightly here said to be the king of Judea; for, by assignment from the Roman emperor, he had the government of all Judea, which upon his death was divided among his sons. In the days of is an eastern way of speaking, and means the time of his reign; in which there was
A certain priest named Zacharias . . . a name famous among the Jews, for an high priest, who was slain by them in the court of the Temple (2 Chron.24:20-21), and for one of the later prophets (Zec.1:1), who were of this name. This man, the father of John the Baptist, was not a high priest, as this character of him, and the work afterwards ascribed to him, show; although he has been thought to be so by some; and John himself is so called by the Jews. He was
Of the course of Abia . . . it has been the opinion of some, that Zacharias and Abia were two priests, who performed their ministry in succession, one after another; one ministered one time, and another at another time; but others say that in David's time, there was a division of the sons of Aaron into orders, or courses (1 Chron.23).
And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron . . . this is not so much said to commend Zacharias, that he took a wife of the same tribe, and of the priestly line: for it was lawful for the tribe of Levi to take a wife of any other, because it did not make any alteration in the inheritances of tribes; and it was a rule with the Jews, that priests, Levites, and Israelites, might marry with one another; just as Mary, who was of the tribe of Judah, was kin to Elizabeth. Luke says this to point to the origin of John the Baptist, and show of what extraction he was, that his father and mother being both of the family of Aaron.
And her name was Elizabeth . . . Zacharias’ wife’s name was Elizabeth, the same as the name "Elisheba", the wife of Aaron, (Ex.6:23), and whom the Septuagint interpreters there call, as here, Elisabeth: and this being the name of Aaron's wife, it is very likely it might be a common name among the daughters of Aaron, in succeeding generations.
This member of the Herod family was Herod the Great. He was king of all the land of Israel for 33 years. Herod the Great was great as a builder, but rotten in character. He was very jealous and cruel (Mat.2:1-18). The event that Luke is about to describe happened about one year before Herod died.
Zechariah belonged to one of the 24 groups of priests (1 Chron.24:10). Each group worked in the Temple in Jerusalem. Twice a year they were on duty for a week.
Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. (KJV)
And they were both righteous before God . . . both Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth were not only righteous before men (like the Pharisees), but also in the sight of God, who sees the heart, and whose judgment is according to right and Truth. They were NOT justified by the deeds of the law; for by them NO man can be justified in the sight of God (Rom.3:20); but they were made righteous through the righteousness of Christ (1 Cor.1:30), by which the saints were made righteous before the coming of Christ, as well as those after it (Acts 15:11; Rev.13:8). God saw them in His Son, as clothed with that awesome righteousness He promised to bring in, and as cleansed from all sin in that precious Blood of Christ which was to be shed (1 Pet.1:18-19).
Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord . . . this was NOT the matter of their righteousness before God, but the evidence of it before men. Walking in all the commandments means ALL those that are of a moral nature, which honor their duty to God and man, and which is understood in love to both; and by ordinances of the Lord, means the rulings and institutions of the ceremonial law, which, although now abolished, was THEN in force: and it was right and praiseworthy for them to observe these, who, by their "walking" in them, showed they loved them and respected them, and were
Blameless . . . this does NOT mean that they were without sin, because NO one is without sin (Rom.3:10,23), and it certainly appears from this chapter that Zacharias was not sinless (verse 20).
BUT . . . they were righteous in the sight of God; as they were justified by the righteousness of Christ (Rom.5:1), so they were without fault before the throne, and unrebukeable before God and as to their moral and religious character and conduct before men. They did not indulge in any known sin, but lived in good conscience among men. They were not careless and negligent in their discharge of duty: they were not guilty of any dishonorable break of the law of God, or of any remarkable negligence in the business of religious observances.
Luke 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. (KJV)
And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren . . . if a wife had no children, the Jews thought that God was punishing her and her husband. The woman would feel both sad and ashamed. Other women, who had children, would think of her as a wife of no value. Barren women in OT: (Gen.11:30; 17:17; 20:18; 21:1; 25:21; 29:31; 30:1-2,22-23; Judg.13:2-3; 1 Sam.1-7; Lk.1:7,25)
And they both were now well stricken in years . . . which made the conception and birth of John the Baptist all the more extraordinary, and I would say even miraculous. Believing it would be difficult (Gen.17:17). Some say that Zacharias was "ninety nine" years of age, and his wife "eighty nine".
Luke 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, (KJV)
And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office . . . to which he was called and ordained, to offer gifts and sacrifices for men; while he did his duty. It is often in these times when God appears to, and in favor of His people. While he was performing it,
Before God . . . in the Temple, where the symbol of the divine Presence was, before the altar of the Lord; and as having the fear of God before his eyes; considering himself as in the sight of God, and doing his work faithfully and sincerely,
In the order of his course . . . taking his turn in the order of the course of Abia, to which he belonged.
Luke 1:9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. (KJV)
According to the custom of the priest's office . . . in which, every man took his part in the execution of it by lot; and which was not originally settled law of God; but a custom, which, in process of time, through the number of the priests, took place, and prevailed, and so likewise all other sorts of service were settled by lot.
His lot was to burn incense, when he went into the temple of the Lord. . . where the altar of incense was, and which was burned upon it morning and evening (Ex.30:1,7-8), and was characteristic of the continual intercession of Jesus Christ. This part of service was assigned him by lot. The priests used to cast lots, what part they should take in the service of the Temple, in the order of the course, to which they belonged. So it seems that the burning of incense, as other parts of the priest's service, was done by lot; and that they were new priests, or such who had never burnt incense, that cast lots for it. It was a tradition, that no man ever burnt incense twice; the reason assigned for it is, because it makes a man rich; and therefore that every one might partake of the blessing in their turns, new ones were called unto it: whether Zacharias had ever burnt incense before, and whether he now did it in the morning or evening, is not certain.
The priests were multiplied to a huge number, it seems that more than four thousand came on the return out of the captivity of Babylon (Ezra 2:36-39). They were no doubt afterward multiplied to a far greater number. Josephus tells us there were a thousand in a course; whether they held to twenty-four courses, as in David's time, or not, is not known. There were several parts of the priestly office, which seems, by this text, the priests of the course that ministered divided amongst themselves by lot. One part of their work was to burn incense morning and evening. It seems this was that part of the priestly office which Zacharias was by lot to exercise.
Luke 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. (KJV)
And the whole multitude of the people were praying without . . . the multitude was in the court of the Israelites, while Zacharias was in the holy place, NOT in the holy of holies, where only the high priest entered once a year (Heb.9:7).
In the time of incense . . . whether it was morning or evening, the people were obliged to be at a distance, while it was burning; the Jewish canons confirm this.
Luke 1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. (KJV)
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord . . . Gabriel, as is clear from (Lk.1:19,26,36). This was the same angel that had appeared to Daniel, about the time of the evening oblation, nearly five hundred years before, and gave him an account of the time of the Messiah's coming (Dan.9:21).
Standing on the right side of the altar of incense . . . of which, see (Ex.30:1-10; 35:25-28). The location of it, according to the Jews, was the table (of showbread) which was in the north, two cubits and a half distance from the wall; and the candlestick was in the south, two cubits and a half distance from the wall; and the altar (of incense) was in the middle, and stood between them. The altar of incense was between them both without, so that it was on the north side that the angel stood.
Luke 1:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. (KJV)
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him . . . when Zacharias saw the angel; he was greatly troubled, and fear fell upon him; because such appearances of angels was not so common then as previously, but even when they were more usual, the appearance usually had he same effects on the minds, even of good men (Judg.6:22; Dan.8:17).
Luke 1:13 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. (KJV)
But the angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias . . . the angel calls him by his name; because all holy men are known to angels in person, and by name; to whom they are ministering spirits (Heb.1:14), and for whose good they are concerned. He told him not to be afraid, just as the angel said to the women at Christ's sepulcher (Mat.28:5), for he saw by his countenance and gestures, that he was greatly surprised and terrified at the sight of him.
For thy prayer is heard . . . Zacharias had for many years prayed for a son. It should not be thought that he had been now praying for one, being in such an advanced age, and having for years past given up all hopes of one. He was told by the angel he should have one. Prayer is sometimes immediately heard and answered . . . BUT . . . sometimes an answer is postponed for a l-o-n-g time, to test the faith and patience of the saints, and for them to learn more of the wisdom, power and goodness of God. The prayer of Zacharias may have concerned the Coming of the Messiah, which was expected, and therefore is told, that his prayer was heard, since the angel that appeared to him, brought him the news of the conception and birth of His forerunner.
And thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son . . . Elisabeth had been always barren, and was called so (Lk.1:7,36).
And thou shalt call his name John . . . in Hebrew, it is "Jochanan", and means "gracious", a very fit name for one that was filled with the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit; and was the forerunner of the Messiah, who is full of grace and truth; and he ushered in the Messiah's Kingdom, which is a dispensation of grace (Rom.6:14).
Luke 1:14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. (KJV)
And thou shalt have joy and gladness . . . not only because of his having a son; but because his son would be the prophet of the Highest (verse 76) would go before the Lord, and prepare His ways; give knowledge of salvation to many, and give light to them that were in darkness, and guide their feet in the way of peace: all this and more, Zacharias afterwards expresses in his song, whereby this part of the angel's prediction had its accomplishment.
And many shall rejoice at his birth . . . just as the neighbors and cousins of his parents did (verse 58); and not only they, but all others, who, afterwards had knowledge of him as prophet, and as the forerunner of the Messiah.
Luke 1:15 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. (KJV)
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord . . . of Almighty God the Father. Why is it that what is highly esteemed among men, is most often an abomination to God? And why is it that what is highly esteemed by God, is most often an abomination to Men?
John the Baptist was indeed great in the sight of the Lord, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, before whom he was to go, and who pronounced him a prophet, and more than a prophet . . . Jesus said: Matthew 11:9-11 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (KJV) . . . John was great, NOT in birth and blood, NOT in worldly riches and grandeur, BUT in gifts and grace, in his work, his office, and usefulness, and in the esteem of God, and of men as well.
And shall drink neither wine nor strong drink . . . the Nazarites were forbidden strong drink (Num.6:3). Strong drink means any drink which usually intoxicates. This was the law of the Nazarites (Num.6:1-8). It was forbidden by the priests during the time of their ministration, lest ye die (Lev.10:9). NO lovers of wine and strong drink can ever be great men in the sight of God. The minister of the Gospel must NOT be one given to wine (1 Tim.3:3; Tit.1:7). Three things are forbidden a Nazarite: defilement, shaving and whatever proceeds from the vine, from the kernels even to the husk. The Jews had no such strong drink as ours, which we call beer or ale; but they speak of the strong drink of the Medes, which they say was an inebating liquor, made of barley.
And he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb . . . shall be divinely chosen or appointed to this office, and qualified for it by all needed power supply of the Holy Spirit. To be "filled" with the Holy Spirit is to be illuminated, sanctified, and guided by His influence. Here it refers:
#1. To Almighty God’s intention that John would be set apart to this work, just as God intended that Paul should be an apostle from his mother's womb (Gal.1:15-16).
#2. It refers to an actual fitting for the work from the birth by the influence of the Holy Spirit, as was the case with Jeremiah (Jer.1:5-9); and with the Messiah Himself (Ps.22:9-10).
Just like Jeremiah, he was sanctified, set apart, and ordained to be the prophet of the Highest, BEFORE he came out of his mother's womb; and was then under such an influence of the Spirit of God, that he leapt for joy, at the salutation of the mother of Christ to his mother, (Lk.1:41,44) and at a very early age, appeared to have the extraordinary gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, qualifying him for his work.
Luke 1:16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. (KJV)
And many of the children of Israel . . . to whom only, or mainly, he was sent. He came preaching and administering the ordinance of water baptism; and great multitudes of the Jews flocked to him, attended on his ministry, believed in his doctrine, and submitted to his baptism . . . BUT . . . not all . . . for some scorned his preaching, and rejected his baptism. But there were many that were converted under his ministry, confessed their sins, and were baptized by him; which confirmed this prediction:
Shall he turn to the Lord their God . . . not God the Father; for although He was the Lord God of the Jews in general, this means the Lord JESUS. And of those that were turned by John's ministry in a special way, it cannot be said of John . . . "to go before him", as he is in the next verse. This means the Messiah Who IS the Lord God, and is often called so in the Old Testament; especially in a prophecy (Isa.40:3), a name used for God alone. Jesus IS God!
God is the mighty God, the God over all, the great God, the true God, and Eternal Life (1 Jn.5:20). God is your God, the Jew’s God, the God of His covenant people, be they Jews or Gentiles (Isa.25:9; 35:4). He shall turn them to the Lord their God means conversion. Conversion means turning to God, and that is NOT man's work, but God's work! It is brought about by His almighty power, but John was to be, and was, a great instrument of the conversion of many among the Jews, by preaching the doctrine of repentance towards God, and faith in the Messiah, that was just ready to come, right on the brink! John the Baptist was the instrument in the Hand of God, of turning many from sin, and causing them to realize a true sense of their sin, and to bring them to a sincere acknowledgment and confession of it. He made them see that their birth privileges, legal duties and self-righteousness, their false ideas of a temporal Messiah would not get them eternal life. He wisely led them to believe in Christ as a spiritual Saviour, as the Lamb of God, that would take away the sin of the world.
Luke 1:17 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. (KJV)
And he shall go before him . . . John the Baptist would go before the Lord his God, the Lord Jesus Christ, as a forerunner, as the messenger of Him, that according to the prophecies in:
Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (KJV)
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
John was to go before Him, and prepare His ways; as he certainly did by his wonderful conception and birth. His job was to make way for an easier belief of the conception and birth of the Messiah, by a virgin; and by his preaching the doctrine of repentance, and administering the ordinance of baptism; which, was done to awaken the people's expectation of the Messiah, and that he might be made manifest in Israel, and by pointing Him out to them in his preaching:
In the spirit and power of Elias . . . or Elijah, the prophet. John the Baptist, and Elijah were men very much of the same spirit and disposition, and too, they had the power, life and zeal in their jobs. They both spoke much in the wilderness; lived severe lives; their habit and dress were much alike; they were both restorers of religious conviction. Both were famous for their faithfulness in condemning the vices of kings, and for their warm passion for the Truth, and for the persecution they endured for the sake of it:
To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children . . . some understand this his turning the degenerate offspring of the Jews, to the sentiments of their forefathers, and causing them to agree with them in their ideas of the Messiah, which is the prophecy referred to in: Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (KJV)
The turning of the Jews to Christ, through John’s ministry and baptism, of reconciling Jews and Gentiles together, which is the great work of the Gospel dispensation, ushered in by John; and who preached that all men should believe in Christ. John baptized publicans and Roman soldiers, as well as Jews; and which sense pretty much agrees with the interpretation the Jews put upon the prophecy, as referring to Elijah the Tishbite, whom they expect in person, before the coming of the Messiah.
To make ready a people prepared for the Lord . . . all the people, not just the people of the Jews, but God's elect among them who from all eternity was prepared. The work of John the Baptist, was "to make ready" this people, by pointing out to them, what their readiness meant, and how to meet the Lord, and be forever with Him in Heaven. This did not mean civil, moral or legal righteousness or the outward humiliation of sin . . . it meant the inward humiliation for sin, the abstinence from sin, it meant justification by the righteousness of Christ, and in regeneration and sanctification by His Spirit and grace, it meant confessing their sins in sincerity. To make ready meant being fit for the heavenly inheritance (1 Pet.4-5), which can be done ONLY through Jesus (Jn.3:18,36; 14:6; 1 Jn.5:10-12). John and so many other Gospel ministers, may be said to make ready a people, in this sense; when they are the instruments of the regeneration and conversion of sinners, and of leading them to the righteousness of Christ, for their justification before God, and acceptance with Him.
Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. (KJV)
And Zacharias said unto the angel, whereby shall I know this? . . . even though such an appearance of an angel in those times was not so usual, and this in the holy place of the Temple, the things that were told to Zacharias, and these being the answer to prayer . . . he still did not believe, did not trust God, and wanted a sign, so that he might know it was true. (Gen.15:8).
For I am an old man . . . at least sixty years of age; for with the Jews, sixty years was considered old. Some say that Zacharias was ninety nine years of age, and his wife eighty nine, similar to Abraham and Sarah. Luke does not tell how old either of them were, so all we need to know is what the Bible tells us.
And my wife well stricken in years . . . some say, she was "eighty nine"; a similar objection Abraham made, though he afterwards got over it, and was strong in faith, giving glory to God, believing in his power and faithfulness (Gen.17:17).
Luke 1:19 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. (KJV)
And the angel answering, said unto him, I am Gabriel . . . the name of an angel called Gabriel was well known to Zacharias from Daniel's prophecies (Dan.8:16; 9:21), and was the first time we read of the name of an angel. Zacharias should have had in mind the prophecy of Daniel concerning the coming of the Messiah, where his name signified, "a man of God", or "the power", or "strength of God", or "God is my strength". Gabriel suggests to him, that he should not to have distrusted his Words, since with God all things are possible. Gabriel goes on,
That stand in the presence of God . . . Gabriel was one of the top ranking angels, who stood in the awesome Presence of Almighty God, seeing His face, hearing Him speak, and ministering to Him, and therefore Zacharias had no reason to doubt the accomplishment of it. Gabriel, according to the Jews, is one of the four angels that surround the throne of God: their names are Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel.
And am sent to speak unto thee, and to show unto thee these glad tidings . . . because of his name, his office and his mission, especially the subject of it being such welcome news, good tidings. What Gabriel said should have obtained credit with him. Gabriel was one of the ministering spirits sent to minister to them that were heirs of salvation (Heb.1:14). His messages were messages of mercy, grace and love; Gabriel was not a minister of the wrath and vengeance of God, but of His favor. The Jews agree with this of Gabriel. Michael on the right hand, who is over fire; and Gabriel on the left hand, who is over water; and the holy creatures mingle fire and water, and by his dominion and fear, make peace in his heaven of heavens.
Luke 1:20 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. (KJV)
And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak . . . silent, and not able to speak. Silence is sometimes voluntary; but this was what he could not help. Zacharias, who has been so verbal, will now be dumb (without speech) for quite a period of time. This was both a sign and a judgment; a sign that he had come from God, that Gabriel’s words from God would be fulfilled, and a judgment (condemnation, verdict) for not giving credit to what he had said. I do not think that there is a worse sin to God, than that of unbelief. When GOD speaks, man should believe, and if he chooses NOT to believe, he shall NOT be able to escape punishment that is sure to come. By NOT believing, a person calls God a “liar” (1 Jn.5:10-12). BEWARE! God speaks only Truth, and we had better believe Him. God also speaks only what is for our good, and it is absolutely just and right that we shall definitely suffer IF we do not acknowledgment what He says. http://www.hisservants.org/worst_sin_h_s.htm
Until the day that these things shall be performed . . . these things mean what Gabriel had said about the conception and birth of a son to Zacharias, and the name of what he should be called. This cease of speech would remain on Zachariah, not only until his wife had conceived, and the child was born, but until the eighth day after, when he was circumcised, and his name was given him that the angel directed (verse 13). Zachariah’s tongue would cleave to the roof of his mouth, and then later, he would be able to speak again, like Ezekiel. (Eze.3:26-37).
Because thou believest not my words . . . it seems that Zacharias was struck both deaf and dumb, as appears from his friends making signs to him (verse 62), which they would have no need to do, had he been able to hear. It seems that he was struck with deafness, because he refused to listen (hearken) to the angel's words; and with dumbness, because from the unbelief of his heart he rejected them. What can we learn from this? Unbelief is evil and is really hated by God. We must take heed, that it does NOT win out in us, especially since it can very easily attack and overwhelm us.
Which shall be fulfilled in their season . . . the things being: first the conception, then the birth, and then the calling him by his name, JOHN. And too, in process of time, John’s work and office, so that the unbelief of Zacharias did not make the faith of God of no effect. Although sometimes the people of God are very unbelieving, yet they abide faithful to His Word and Promises.
Luke 1:21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. (KJV)
And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple . . . the people were outside, in the court of the Israelites, praying, while Zacharias was offering incense. They were waiting for him to come out, in order to be blessed by him (Num.6:23), and be dismissed by him. They wondered why he tarried so long in the temple; far beyond the usual time of burning incense.
Luke 1:22 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. (KJV)
And when he came out, he could not speak unto them . . . Zacharias could not speak, so he could not bring the benediction they were waiting for.
And they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple . . . which he made them to understand, by the gestures he used, either he signaled to them; nodding his head, or by motions of his hands.
And remained speechless . . . and Zacharias remained speechless, for the exact time the angel had said.
Luke 1:23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. (KJV)
And it came to pass, that as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished . . . in the order of the course, which might be three, four, five or six days, according to the number of the heads of the house of their fathers in the course. For although Zachariah was deaf and dumb, he was not disqualified for service. Deafness and dumbness excused persons from various duties but did not disqualify priests. A Levite, if he had lost his voice, was disqualified, but not a priest, the reason being, that one part of the work of the Levites, was to sing, and therefore could not perform it without a voice. But the work of the priests, even though deaf and dumb, they could perform it; such as cleansing the altar, trimming the lamps, carrying the parts of a sacrifice to the altar, laying them upon it, and burning them, or offering any sacrifice, burning incense which was the business of Zacharias.
He departed to his own house . . . when he had fulfilled his course, he returned to his own house; which was not at Jerusalem, but in the hill country, in a city of Judah there (verses 39-40).
Luke 1:24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, (KJV)
And after those days . . . the days of Zacharias’ ministration in the temple, soon after his return home;
His wife Elisabeth conceived . . . according to the angel’s prediction, even with her barrenness, and the unbelief of her husband.
And hid herself five months . . . did not go forth into public, and concealed her condition. I think that she hid herself, that she might be fully satisfied that she was with child, before she said anything about it; and that she might not have any pride or vanity because of it; and to avoid all discourse with others about it, which might be rumored abroad; and mainly to shun all ceremonial uncleanness, which one, that bred a Nazarite, was obliged to (Judg.13:14), and most of all, that she might spend her time in meditation upon the goodness of God, and in returning thanks to Him for the favor she had received. We are not told HOW she knew of what the angel had said. Possibly Zacharias had written it for her to know.
Saying . . .
Luke 1:25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. (KJV)
Thus hath the Lord dealt with me . . . in a very gracious and bountiful manner; in giving her strength to conceive a son in her old age, and, as to be the mother to such a one that was to be so great and so useful in his day. Again I say, her husband had no doubt informed her by writing, because he could not speak.
In the days wherein he looked on me . . . with a favorable eye, with a look of love and mercy.
He took away my reproach among men . . . since barrenness was accounted (Gen.30:23; Isa.4:1), especially among the Israelites, the seed of Abraham; to whom was promised a numerous issue, as the stars in the sky, and as the sand on the sea shore (Gen.22:17), and particularly about the Messiah (Gen.12:2-3).
Gabriel Appears To Mary
Announcing The Virgin Birth Of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)
Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, (KJV)
And in the sixth month . . . after Elisabeth's conception; for John the Baptist was born six months before Christ, and it seems that there was the same amount of time between the public ministry of John and Christ Jesus. John was before Christ, for he was the man who was the forerunner of Christ Jesus, who was the eternal Son of God.
The angel Gabriel was sent from God . . . this same angel, that almost five hundred years before, gave Daniel an exact accounting of the time of the Messiah's coming (Dan.8:15-17;9:21), and just six months ago, had told Zacharias of the conception, birth, character, and office of Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist. Each time Gabriel appeared, he brought important messages from God.
Unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth . . . Nazareth was Joseph and Mary's hometown, and was a long way from Jerusalem, the center of Jewish life and worship. It was located on a major trade route. Nazareth was quite often visited by Gentile merchants and Roman soldiers. It was known for its independent and unfriendly attitude. Jesus was born in Bethlehem but He grew up in Nazareth. All the same, the people of Nazareth would reject Him as the Messiah (Lk.4:22-30). They discern, though through mistake, that no prophet arose out of it, (Jn.7:52), and Nazareth, in particular, was far beyond despicable in the eyes of the Jews, and which later brought on those words of Nathanael, "can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (Jn.1:46). Yet, the Greatest One in history grew up in Nazareth, and yet it was there that the angel was sent by God, to deliver a message from God, to the future mother of our Lord, Jesus , who lived there. (Mat.1:22-23).
Luke 1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. (KJV)
To a virgin . . . a pure virgin, that never knew man (verse 34). Twice in this one verse Mary is called a virgin. Do you know what a virgin is? Many in today’s world do NOT know. A virgin is a woman who could not have a child because she had never had a relationship with a man that would make the birth of a child possible. There are some idiots today who say that the virgin birth is physically impossible. My friend, the Bible (God) makes it quite clear that the Lord Jesus Christ WAS virgin born. Yes, I realize that there are many who do not believe in the virgin birth, but if someone states that the Bible does not teach it, they are WRONG! They should open the Bible and study what is in there, because the virgin birth IS in there! We should remember that Luke was a doctor, and he gives the most comprehensive and complete account of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus.
Espoused to a man whose name was Joseph . . . Mary was espoused, that to us is formally engaged, to Joseph, but not yet married. (Mat.1:18-25). Joseph had not yet taken her for his wife, had not yet taken her home to his house, nor had they lived together.
Of the house of David . . . this can be said of either the virgin or Joseph, to whom she was espoused; for they both were of the house and lineage of David. This reveals what a low condition David's family was in, that the persons that were the nearest related to it was a carpenter, and a poor virgin; and both residing in so disgraceful a place as Nazareth in Galilee.
And the virgin's name was Mary . . . a name common among the Jews, and is the same as Miriam, who was the sister of Moses and Aaron (Mic.6:4).
Luke 1:28 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. (KJV)
And the angel came in unto her . . . in her house, into the room where she was.
And said, hail . . . meaning all health, happiness, and prosperity attend thee (Mat.28:9).
Thou art highly favoured . . . in other words, Mary had obtained the awesome grace of God, not meaning the electing, redeeming; justifying, pardoning, adopting and sanctifying grace, which she had in common with ALL other saints; but that this was a special and particular honor, in being chosen and singled out from all other women, to be the mother of the Messiah.
The Lord is with thee . . . as the angel said to Gideon (Judg.6:12), this being a usual form of salutation among the Jews (Ruth 2:4).
Thou art blessed among women . . . and will be pronounced so by other women, as she was by Elisabeth (Lk.1:42), and by another woman (Lk.11:27).
Mary was a young, poor, female, all the characteristics that to the people of her day, would make her seem useless by God for any major job. But God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience He has ever demanded of anyone. You may feel that your ability, experience, or education makes you an unlikely candidate for God's service. Do NOT limit God's choices. I know this for a fact. I was a poor, uneducated female, yet God called me to teach His Word, starting me in a church where they all had been brought up on the Bible, and right after I had finally opened my heart’s door to Jesus (Rev.3:20). A new born “babe” in Christ in a church overflowing with “fathers” (1 Jn.2:13). That was well over 45 years ago, and so far, I am still going strong, because of His power and wisdom. He can use you if you trust Him.
Luke 1:29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. (KJV)
And when she saw him . . . can you even begin to imagine, what this poor young girl thought, when Mary saw the angel? And then, when he spoke to her?
She was troubled at his saying. . . troubled could mean shocked, shaken, stunned, surprised, etc., at the sight of him, and more so at what he said to her.
And cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be . . . she thought and reasoned within herself, for it was not usual with the Jews for a man to use ANY greeting to a woman. It was not lawful to be done in any way, shape or form; not by a messenger, not even by her own husband. With all this, Mary might well wonder what was going on. She could not understand the meaning of all this; especially, that she should be addressed in such fine language, and greeted as a peculiar favorite of God, and blessed among women.
Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. (KJV)
And the angel said unto her . . . seeing the panic and confusion she was in;
Fear not, Mary . . . he calls her by her name, indicating that she was well known to him, as all the saints are to the ministering angels (Heb.1:14), who are often sent to them, encamp around them, and do them many good works. He tells her not be afraid, for he had no evil plan upon her, nor brought any bad news to her.
For thou has found favour with God . . . or "found grace with God". What that specific grace and favor was, is told to us in the following verses.
Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. (KJV)
And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb . . . because she was a pure virgin, which never knew a man; the angel begins with "behold", as being something extraordinary and wonderful, as in: Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (KJV) . . . It is to this prophesy to which the angel clearly refers, and is, by Matthew quoted, as accomplished. (Mat.1:22-23).
And bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name JESUS . . . which means a "Saviour". And Christ Jesus IS the Saviour Whom God appointed, provided and sent. And a very suitable One He is indeed! He is our spiritual Saviour, completely able and willing to save to the uttermost (Heb.7:25), ALL those that believe in Him! Nor is there any other, nor salvation in any other (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). He is the Saviour of His people, whom these the Father has given Him (Jn.10:29), ALL the elect, be they Jews or Gentiles! Jesus is Saviour, saving them from all their sins, and from all their enemies; and whom He saves with a spiritual and eternal salvation (Jn.3:16,36).
Luke 1:32 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: (KJV)
He shall be great . . . in His Person, as God-Man; this Child born, and Son given, being the mighty God, and everlasting Father, which is here referred to; and in His offices. Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (KJV)
In His prophetic office, being that great and famous prophet Moses spoke of (Deut.18:15,18), mighty in word and deed, in His doctrine and miracles; in His priestly office, being a great high priest (Heb.4:14), both in the sacrifice of Himself (Eph.1:7; 1 Pet.2:24-25; 3:18), and in His extensive intercession (1 Jn.2:1); and in His kingly office, being the King of kings, and Lord of Lords (Rev.19:16); and in the whole of his office, as Mediator, being a great Saviour, the Author of a great salvation for great sinners (Heb.5:9; 12:2); in which is greatly displayed the glory of all His divine perfections. Great also is He in His works, the miracles that he did, as proofs of His Deity and Messiahship, the work of redemption, the resurrection of Himself from the dead, and of all men at the last day (Dan12:1-2). He is now at the Father's Right Hand, where He is highly exalted above all principality and power (Eph.1:21).
And shall be called the Son of the Highest . . . that is, of God, "the Most High" (Gen.14:18-20), NOT by creation, as angels and men, not by adoption, as are saints, NOT by office, as magistrates, are called "the children of the Most High" (Ps.82:6), but by nature, being the eternal Son of God; of the same nature with Him, and equal to Him (Jn.10:30). But, for now, He was not to begin to be the Son of God, because He was so before, even from all eternity (Jn.1:1-2).
And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David . . . Christ, as God, is the Son of God, as Man, the son of David; a Name often given to the Messiah, and by which He was well known among the Jews; and since Christ descended from the Father as Man, in a literal sense, He had a right to the throne of His father David. But here it intends not His throne, in a literal, but in a symbolic sense; for as David was a type of the Messiah in his kingly office, therefore the Messiah is called "David their king" (Hos.3:5). So, His throne was typical of the Messiah's throne and kingdom; which is not of this world (Jn.8:23; 8:36), but is in His church, and is set up in the hearts of His people, where He reigns by His Spirit and grace.
Luke 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (KJV)
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever . . . not over the Jews, the posterity of Jacob, but over the whole of Israel, consisting of Jews and Gentiles. For as His father David reigned over the Idumeans, Syrians and others, as well as over the house of Judah and Israel, so this His Son shall reign over both Jews and Gentiles. His Kingdom shall be from one end of the earth to the other, over ALL the elect of God; who in successive generations call themselves by the name of Jacob, and surname themselves by the name of Israel.
And of his kingdom there shall be no end . . . this refers to the following Scripture prophesy:
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (KJV)
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (KJV)
Daniel 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (KJV)
Christ Jesus, the Messiah, shall reign in the hearts of His people unto the end of the world; and with His saints a thousand years (Rev.2-:1-7) in the new heavens and new earth; and then with them for all eternity, in the ultimate glory.
Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (KJV)
Then said Mary to the angel, how shall this be . . . this she said, NOT doubting the Truth of what he said; for she demanded no sign, as Zacharias did, neither is she charged with and/or blamed for unbelief, as he was. It is clearly stated that she believed (verse 45). Neither was this a probing question, as to whether she would have this son by a man in a married state, or in her present virgin state, because she clearly understood the angel to mean the latter. Therefore her words express her utter awe and respect at it, and also her desire to be informed of the way as to how it would be. She knew by prophecy, that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin, and she supposed, by the angel's statement, that SHE was that virgin, but she could not picture in what way this amazing thing would happen; and therefore proposes this question for the following reason,
Seeing I know not a man? . . . she had not been intimate with Joseph or any other man. Although she was espoused (engaged) to Joseph, as of yet, he had not taken her to wife, nor were they, as yet come together. And now, before they did, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost (Mat.1:18). She was a pure virgin, untouched by any man.
Luke 1:35 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. (KJV)
And the angel answered and said unto her . . . the angel explained to her the way in which what he had said would take place, as well as telling her some things to strengthen her faith.
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee . . . the forming of Christ's human nature, although common to all the three Persons of the Trinity, but is primarily, and most properly ascribed to the Holy Spirit; not to the First Person, the Father, lest it should be thought that He is only the Father of Him, as man; nor to the Second Person, the Son, since it is to Him that the human nature is personally united; but to the Third Person, the Spirit, who is the Sanctifier; and who separated and sanctified the first moment of this miraculous conception, preserving it from the stain of original sin. His coming upon the virgin must be understood in consistence with His omnipresence, and cannot mean any local motion, but a successful operation in forming the human nature of her flesh and substance; NOT in the ordinary way which is the formation of all mankind (Job 33:4), but in an astonishing way, not to be considered and explained.
And the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee . . . by "the power of the Highest" is not meant the Lord Jesus Christ, who is sometimes called the power of God (1 Cor.1:24); but instead the Holy Ghost, who is styled the finger of God, and power from on high (Lk.11:20; 24:49), unless it should be thought that the perfection of divine power common to all the three Persons is intended, this would point out the means by which this wondrous thing would be accomplished by the power of God, and which would not only be employed in forming the human nature of Christ, but also in protecting the virgin from any suspicion and charge of sin, and defending her innocence and virtue, by moving upon Joseph to take her to wife. The word, "overshadow" causes some to think there is a suggestion to the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, in (Gen.1:2), when He brooded upon them, as the word may be rendered; and which is the sense of it, according to the Jewish writers.
Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God . . . the human nature of Christ is here called a "thing", for it was not as yet a person. It never existed of or by itself, but was taken immediately into union with the Person of the Son of God, or else there would be two persons in Christ, whereas He is God, and Man, in ONE person. It is said to be "holy", for it was totally free from that original pollution and sin, in which ALL humans that descend from Adam, by normal generation, are conceived, and brought forth. It is also said to be born of a virgin, "of thee", or "out of thee". Christ's Flesh was formed out of the virgin's; He took flesh of her. He did NOT descend from Heaven, or pass through her, as water does through a pipe, as some heretics of old said, neither did His human nature, either as to soul or body, pre-exist His incarnation; but in the fullness of time He was made of a woman (Eph.1:10), and took His true body from her. He should be called the Son of God, not that He had just now become the "the Son of God" . . . He was so BEFORE His incarnation (Jn.1:1-2), and even from all eternity! But now, He was to be revealed as such in human nature.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (KJV)
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (KJV)
Luke 1:36 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. (KJV)
And behold thy cousin Elisabeth . . . some question how Elisabeth, who was one of the daughters of Aaron (verse 5), and so of the tribe of Levi, could be cousin to Mary, who was of the house of David, and therefore of the tribe of Judah (verse 3), because of the law (Num.36:6-7). But cousin may be taken in a large sense, as Paul called all the Jews his kinsmen (Rom.9:3), or they might be cousins in a strict sense, for the daughters of the tribe of Levi might marry into any other tribes, having no inheritance to carry away, to prevent which was the law (Num.36:1-13).
She hath also conceived a son in her old age . . . although Mary asked for no sign, yet one is given to her, so that she might know the truth of what was spoken. It seems that Elisabeth had received strength to conceive, as was declared by the angel; and that a son, too, which he could not have known without a divine revelation; and that in her old age, which, was extraordinary and supernatural. Mary could rest assured that the message brought to her was from God; and that she likewise, although a virgin, might conceive, and bear a son, the angel adds, as a further testimony of the truth of things;
And this is the sixth month with her who was called barren . . . Elisabeth, was generally known to be barren, and was, by way of reproach, usually called so, but now was six months with child; so that it was plain to see, the signs of her pregnancy being very apparent.
Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. (KJV)
For with God nothing shall be impossible . . . this is consistent with His nature and perfections, with His counsels, purposes and promises. Everything that He has said, purposed or promised, He is able to do, and will do. Every word He has spoken, everything predicted by His prophets, or declared by His angels, and especially this of a virgin's conceiving and bearing a Son. The angel not only answers her question, as to how this should be, but confirms her faith in it; partly by the instance of her cousin Elisabeth, and partly by observing the infinite omnipotence of God.
For with God nothing shall be impossible. I bring you a message from God, to whom all things are possible. This was an ordinary saying amongst them, Nothing is impossible with God. Our Saviour used these words (Mat.19:26; Mk.10:27). Anything God determines to do He can get done, because there is NOTHING impossible for God. But that does NOT mean He will do everything believers want Him to do, because some things are not included in His plan. IF it is not His will, He will not do it!
Luke 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (KJV)
And Mary said, behold the handmaid of the Lord . . . these words express her obedience, her faith. She commits herself to be the handmaid of the Lord, with desires to obey Him, and be submissive to His commands, and she quietly acknowledges her great unworthiness.
Be it unto me according to thy word . . . she agreed to what the angel said should be done unto her, earnestly desiring it might be, and firmly believed it would be done. It is as though she is saying "Amen" to the angel's message.
And the angel departed from her . . . back to where he came from, into the heavenly regions to his great Lord and Master, that sent him; having finished the business he came about.
Mary Visits Elisabeth (Luke 1:39-56)
After a time Mary decides to visit Elisabeth up in the hill country of Judea.
Luke 1:39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; (KJV)
And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda . . . the word arose means to set out, or starting on a journey.
And went into the hill country with haste . . . the region in the vicinity of Jerusalem, commonly called the hill country of Judea.
Into a city of Juda . . . what city is meant is not told. Some have supposed it was Jerusalem, others Hebron, but all is guesswork. It was most likely a Levitical city, and the residence of Zacharias when he was not employed in the Temple.
Luke 1:40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. (KJV)
And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth . . . which was in the unnamed city, and could have been well known to Mary. She greeted Elisabeth, not Zacharias, maybe because he was not at home; or because he was deaf and dumb, and could neither hear her salutation, nor return it; or because it was not usual for women to salute men, nor men to salute women (verse 29). But it was common for one woman to salute another; and especially so for Mary to salute Elisabeth, because she came to pay the visit to her, and it was with her she was mainly concerned. Saluted Elisabeth . . . I think she expressed great joy and pleasure at seeing her, and used the customary tokens of affectionate salutation.
Luke 1:41 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: (KJV)
And it came to pass that when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary . . . which might be before she saw her, and a little distance from her.
The babe leaped in her womb. . . this was NOT a natural motion, but a supernatural one. The unborn babe within Elisabeth, at hearing the voice of Mary, who had now conceived the Messiah, and whose forerunner this babe, John the Baptist was to be. By this motion, this yet unborn baby gave the first notice of Jesus’ conception. Later he pointed him out by his finger, and by his baptism made Him manifest to Israel.
And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. . . the meaning of this seems to be that she was filled with great joy; wanting to praise God; with a prophetic spirit, or a knowledge of the character of the child that should be born of her. All these were produced by the Holy Ghost. This was not with the ordinary graces of the Spirit, for these she had been filled with before, but with extraordinary gifts, with a spirit of prophecy; by which she knew that the Messiah was conceived, and that Mary was the mother of her Lord; that many things had been told to her; and that she had believed them; and that they would be performed. It seems very likely to me, that this was when John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost also. Luke 1:15 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. (KJV)
In verses 39 to 41, what takes place here is purely miraculous. It would be ridiculous to try to give a natural explanation of something that is totally of Almighty God. You either believe what happened in these verses or you do not. Far too many people today try to appear scholarly by trying to explain away the miracles in the Bible. A person either accepts the miracles of the Bible or they do not, and what took place in these verses was an absolute miracle. Elisabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and the baby within her leaps in her womb.
Luke 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (KJV)
And she spake out with a loud voice . . . so that all in the house might hear. She spoke with great passion of her soul, and with much affection, being under the exceptionally powerful impression of the Spirit of God. She said,
Blessed art thou among women . . . the exact same words that the angel had said to Mary before (verse 28).
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb . . . the reason she is called blessed, is because her Child was blessed! The Child was in union with a divine Person, who is God over all, blessed for ever, and Who has ALL spiritual blessings in Him. This Child is that Seed (Gen.3:15), in which ALL nations of the Earth were to be blessed (Gen.12:3). In Truth, Jesus is both blessed in Himself, and He is the Source of all blessedness to others. The Jews say, that the six measures of barley, that Boaz gave to Ruth (Ruth 3:15), meant that six righteous men would spring from her, and among them would be the Messiah; who in Himself would be blessed with six blessings, these being: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and of might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; (KJV)
Luke 1:43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (KJV)
And whence is this to me . . . how is it, that such an honor is done to me, that I am favored like this?
That the mother of my Lord should come to me? . . . Elisabeth was NOT envying the greater honor given to her kinswoman, Mary, who was much younger than she was. She simply considered it a wonderful favor, that she should have a visit from Mary, who had already conceived the Messiah, and in due time would be the mother of Him, as Man (Jn.1:14); Who, in His divine nature, is Lord of all angels, and men, and every creature; and in a remarkable manner was her Lord, and the Lord of all the saints, by His Father's gift from eternity, by his own purchase in time, and by the power of his grace on each of their souls.
Mother of my Lord . . . the word Lord sometimes denotes divinity, and sometimes means superior, master, teacher, or governor. It was given by the Jews to their expected Messiah; but whether they understood it as denoting divinity cannot now be determined. It is clear only that Elisabeth used it as meaning great dignity and honor. (Jn.13:13).
So it is that the virgin is said to be the mother of the Man Jesus (Immanuel). Mary was NOT the mother of God, because Almighty God is eternal (Jn.1:1), and God has NO mother! Mary was the parent of that Child within her, and she was the one chosen to have given the Man Jesus His Flesh. Incarnation: (Jn.1:14; 1 Tim.3:16; Lk.24:39). . . . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.hisservants.org/catholics_h_s.htm
Luke 1:44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. (KJV)
For lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears . . . this Elisabeth mentions, as the indicator by which she knew that Mary was the mother of Jesus; specifically from that unusual and astonishing motion of the child, she felt within her.
The babe leaped in my womb for joy. . . that the mother of her Lord, and his, was come there. It has been said that the Jews affirm, that infants in their mother's womb, sung the song at the Red Sea, and praised God.
Luke 1:45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. (KJV)
And blessed is she that believed. . . this means Mary, a very young woman, and who had had things very unimaginable to nature and reason told to her. This young girl believed, without objecting, or demanding a sign, silently referring to the unbelief of Zacharias, who was a man in years, a priest by office; and yet had been very doubtful, in a thing that was much more possible, because there had been instances of bearing a child after years of barrenness, as with Sarah, Hannah and Manoah's wife, than what was told to the virgin. Barren women: (Gen. 21:1-2; Judg.13:2-3; 1 Sam.1-28; Lk.1:7,25).
True faith in any degree pleases God, for faith is the faith of God's elect, and is both a fruit and evidence of His electing grace, which is the source of all blessings. It is the gift of God, and the operation of His Spirit, and can never be lost. Many are the blessings on such as believe for they are in possession of this faith. Faith entitles believers to: justification (Rom.5:1), the remission of their sins (Lk.1:77), their adoption into the household of God (Eph.1:5), liberty at the throne of grace (Rom.5:2), and a right to the eternal inheritance (1 Pet.1:3-5); they enjoy great peace, joy, and comfort in their own souls; bring much glory to God, and shall be saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation.
For there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. . . these words may be considered in two ways: a matter of her faith, Mary being fully persuaded, that what the angel had told her concerning the conception and birth of a son, concerning His Name, His greatness, and duration of His Kingdom, should be fulfilled just as told to her; or as a reason of her joy, because there would be a sure fulfillment of them. Whatever God has spoken to any of His people, whether it is with respect to things that are temporal, spiritual or eternal, they shall be performed! God CANNOT lie, God CAN, with His power, do ALL things, God is ALWAYS faithful to His Words. (Josh.23:14).
Luke 1:46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, (KJV)
And Mary said, my soul doth magnify the Lord . . . to magnify means to make great, to exalt, to praise, to rejoice. I think here it means, to increase in our estimation, to extol, praise and worship. (Ps.34:2-3; 1 Sam:2:1; 2 Sam.7:26). The Son in Mary’s womb was Mary's Lord, as well as her Son. By "magnifying" Him is meant, not making Him great, for He CANNOT be made greater than He is; but crediting greatness to Him, in all the perfections of the Deity, and praising Him on account of them, also declaring and speaking well of His many and mighty works of power, goodness, grace, and mercy, and giving Him the glory of them. This Mary did, NOT in word only, but much deeper, with her whole heart and soul, for she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and under a more than ordinary influence of His, just as her cousin Elisabeth was: and it is to be understood, that she speaks in the prophetic style, of things, as if they were done.
Luke 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. (KJV)
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour . . . God is called Saviour, for He saves people from sin and death. Jesus was and IS Mary's Saviour, as He had redeemed her soul and given her a title to eternal life. For this she rejoiced, as do ALL of God’s TRUE children. Mary rejoiced for that, and especially for His mercy in honoring her by her being made the mother of the Messiah. (Ps.35:9; Hab.3:18).
Luke 1:48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (KJV)
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden . . . literally, God has looked upon the low or humble condition of His handmaid. Aside from Mary’s humble rank and poverty, He has shown her favor. This teaches what is elsewhere taught in the Bible, that God is NOT a respecter of persons; that He is NOT influenced, in conferring favors, by wealth, honor or office (Rom.2:11; 10:11,12). Our God seeks the humble and the contrite; He imparts His rich blessings on those who feel that they need them, and who will bless, and thank Him for them (Ps.138:6; Isa.57:15).
For behold, from henceforth all generations: shall call me blessed . . . from now on, or as a result of this, all generations, all men, all future generations shall call me blessed. Mary was very blessed indeed, to have been chosen for such a blessing.
Mary now begins to sing a song, known as the Magnificat. This song teaches us some very interesting things. Mary tells us in her song that she needed a Savior and that she rejoiced in Him. All people should call her blessed, Protestant or Catholics, Jew and Gentile. We must NOT make Mary a goddess and kneel before her, BUT we should call her blessed. It was an honor granted to her, the glorious privilege to be the mother of the Son of God, to bring Him into the world. She was a wonderful person, and it was NO accident that she was chosen by God. It was His definite decision, and God makes NO mistakes.
Luke 1:49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. (KJV)
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things . . . the incarnation of Christ, brought about something new, a great and unheard of thing; that of a virgin to conceive; and also to bear such a Son, who should be called Jesus, a Saviour, Immanuel, God with us! And this babe in Mary’s womb would be no other than the mighty God, the everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isa.9:6). Mary describes God the Author of it, saying: "he that is mighty"; since this could only be a work of almighty power, she very justly adds,
And holy is his name . . . seeing the incarnation was brought about with NO impurity, through the overshadowing influence of the Holy Ghost; whereby Jesus’ human nature was preserved from the infection of sin, was sanctified, and fit to be united to the Son of God, and to be a Sacrifice for the sins of is people.
Luke 1:50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. (KJV)
And his mercy is on them that fear him . . . NOT the awful fear of Hell and damnation, but with reverence and godly fear; with a devoted and loving fear, with a reverent love of God, and affection for Him; with that fear which can come only from the goodness of God. Although this fear is not the cause and reason of the mercy of God, yet it expresses that the persons towards whom it is applied, are vessels of mercy, prepared to glory; and in whom have redemption, mercy and truth, and who, according to the abundant mercy of God the Father, have been born again (Jn.3:3-8), whose unrighteousness God has been merciful to, and whose sins He will remember no more (Heb.8:12). The incarnation of Christ, which in this chapter is said to be in remembrance of mercy; to be the mercy promised, and to come through the tender mercy of our God, (Lk.1:54,72,78). And which mercy Mary considered, not just for herself, but that extends to all that fear the Lord; not at that time only, but from
Generation to generation. . . to the end of the world, to all God's elect in all times and places, who are partakers this marvelous mercy, and sharers in it.
Luke 1:51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. (KJV)
He hath showed strength with his arm . . . showed His Almighty power, in the working of the incarnation, and in the working out salvation for His people. God is mighty to save, and mighty in the greatness of His strength (Isa.63:1).
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts . . . God always resists the proud (Jam.4:6), both in providence and grace. He uses many different ways to humble and confound these proud ones! Here, it may concern the proud and haughty Jews; who imagined nothing less, than that the Messiah would be born of one of the rich and noble families in Judea; that he would appear as a temporal prince, and set up a temporal kingdom in great state and splendor, and make them a free and prosperous people . . . but instead of this, the Messiah was born of a poor virgin, of whom the Jews scornfully say, is not His mother called Mary, who was of Nazareth in Galilee, because it is said: shall any good thing out of Nazareth? (Jn.1:46). A virgin betrothed to a poor, humble carpenter, and her Son of that business too, with which both were scorned; and because of this spitefulness, the Messiah was rejected by them; and thus were they scattered and confounded.
Luke 1:52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. (KJV)
He hath put down the mighty from their seats . . . God can and has toppled mighty kings and emperors from their thrones, setting up one, and pulling down another; or the mighty angels, from their seats of delight and happiness in Heaven; who rebelled against God, opposed the incarnation of Christ, were prejudiced that the human nature should be advanced above theirs, were cast down to Hell, and are reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day (2 Pet.2:4). This could also refer to the putting down the monarchies and kingdoms of this world, by the Kingdom of the Messiah to be set up; which, though at first was mean and despicable, like a stone cut out of a mountain, will increase, spread, and break in pieces, and destroy all other kingdoms (Dan.2:44).
And exalted them of low degree. . . such as David to the throne of Israel, from the sheepfold (1 Sam.16:11-13). David had been a lowly shepherd, following the ewes great with young; and then his house and family, which were sunk very low, by raising of His Seed, of a poor virgin in his family, unto Israel, the Saviour Jesus; in whose days the poor had the Gospel preached, and they warmly received it, whereas the wealthy or the well-educated turned their backs on the Gospel. The great things of the Gospel were revealed to babes, and hidden from the wise and prudent (Lk.10:21), and beggars were raised from the dunghill (1 Sam.2:8; Lk.16:20-23), to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory. God in His infinite wisdom and grace has been pleased to always have mercy on the poor and humble, in all ages. It is rare for the mighty and noble to be called by grace (1 Cor.1:26), for it is usually the foolish, the weak and the base things of the world that attracts the Lord God, because there, there is no pride and arrogance, which to God is repulsive and abominable! (Lk.18:24-25; Jam.1:9-11; 2:5).
Luke 1:53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. (KJV)
He hath filled the hungry with good things . . . all who earnestly desire and truly do long for the Coming of the Messiah (Tit.2:13; 2 Pet.2:13), as good old Simeon and Anna the prophetess (Lk.2:25-39), and those that looked for redemption in Israel, to whom Mary spoke: and all people who whole-heartedly desire salvation by Christ, and the forgiveness of their sins through His precious Blood ( 1 Pet.1:18-19), and thirst after His righteousness (Mat.5:6), and long for communion with him (1 Co.10:16), and a greater knowledge of Him (2 Pet.3:18), and pant after his word and ordinances (Ps.119:131) . . . these shall be filled with a sense the Presence of Christ, and His salvation; with deep feeling of full and free forgiveness of their sins (Heb.8:12), and with His righteousness (Rom.3:21-24; 1 Cor.1:30), that they hunger after; and with every spiritually good thing they need, forgiveness, joy and peace. This celebrates the marvelous mercy of God. He has daily fed the poor, the needy and ALL those who come to Him with humble hearts.
And the rich he hath sent empty away . . . the rich He sent away and withholds what they ask for, taking away their riches by fire, flood or disappointments, and sends them away empty (Pro.23:5). It is MUCH better to be poor and go to God for our daily bread, than to be rich and forget to depend on Him, seeking only a great increase of our worldly goods. God, in His wisdom and providence, sometimes strips these greedy ones of their all, and turns them into the world naked and empty; while on the other hand, there are those who are rich in grace, who are often the poor of the world; and who, although they seem to have nothing, yet possess all things, and are full.
Those who are rich in their opinion, and in their own works; and who trust in their own righteousness, and despise others; these, as they come full of themselves to the throne of grace, as the Pharisee, are sent empty away; without any token of the love and favor of God, or any blessing from him: and as they come to ordinances in their own strength, and trust in the performance of them, they go away empty, as they came; these are dry breasts unto them, while they are full breasts of consolation to the poor in spirit, and to all meek and humble souls. Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (KJV) . . . God’s ways are most often opposite to the ways of the world!
Luke 1:54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; (KJV)
He hath holpen his servant Israel . . . this does not mean the natural posterity of Jacob, or Israel in general, but the elect of God among them; for all were not Israel, who were of Israel (Rom.9:6) and not them only, but also the chosen ones among the Gentiles (Rom.8:33; 1 Pet.1:2). These are the Israel, God has chosen, redeemed, and calls by His grace, and are here styled His "servant" (Gal3:28-29).
In remembrance of his mercy. . . the Heart of God is full of His abundant mercy which He has in His Heart towards them that love Him, and had promised in His covenant to them: the mercy of God is the spring and source of redemption. The mercy of God provided a Redeemer for us sinners. The Redeemer came; and in His love and pity, performed the Work that NO other could do. Because of this, salvation is to be ascribed, NOT ever to works of righteousness done by men, but only to the abundant mercy of God our Saviour.
Luke 1:55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (KJV)
As he spake to our fathers . . . to David, of whose family Mary was; and to Jacob, (or Israel), of whose stock she was; and to Isaac, in whom the seed was to be, called; and particularly,
To Abraham and to his seed for ever. . . not his natural, but his spiritual seed; both among Jews and Gentiles, to the end of the world; to these God promised this mercy of a Saviour and Redeemer, and to these He performs it, and will to all generations.
Luke 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. (KJV)
And Mary abode with her about three months . . . Mary stayed with Elisabeth about 3 months, of three months; in which time, she had full satisfaction of the Truth of the sign the angel had given her; that being of Elisabeth's conception and pregnancy, for by this time she was near ready to give birth; and too, Mary had to be fully assured, that she too was with Child herself. The time period of three months is a term of time fixed by the Jewish doctors, to know whether a woman is with child or not, as in case of divorce or death. This rule states that every woman that is divorced, or becomes a widow, may not marry, nor be betrothed, until she waits ninety days (three months), beginning on the day in which she is divorced, or her husband dies, and of the day in which she is betrothed; so that it may be known whether she is with child or not, in order to distinguish between the seed of the first, and the seed of the second husband.
And returned to her own house. . . at Nazareth, in Galilee; and now it was, that Joseph, to whom she was betrothed, perceived she was with child; and suspecting evil, had a mind to put her away privately; but was informed by an angel of God, in a dream, of the whole matter; and was advised and encouraged to take her to wife, which he accordingly did. Because travel was difficult, long visits were customary. Mary must have been a great help to Elizabeth, who was experiencing the discomforts of a first pregnancy in old age. Matthew 1:18-20 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
Birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-80)
The remainder of this chapter records the birth of John the Baptist and the song of Zacharias.
Luke 1:57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. (KJV)
Now Elisabeth's full time came . . . the nine months, which is the full time of a woman's being with child, were now complete; for in the sixth month of Elisabeth's pregnancy, or when she had been gone six months with child, the angel acquainted Mary with it, and she had stayed about three months with her.
That she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son . . . according to the angel's prediction to Zacharias (Verse 13). It was fulfilled.
Luke 1:58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. (KJV)
And her neighbours, and her cousins . . . that lived in Hebron, and the parts adjacent, whether of the house of Aaron, or of the tribe of Judah; to both which she was related, and who dwelt near her, the priests in the city of Hebron, and the children of Judah in the places about it.
Heard how the Lord had showed great mercy upon her . . . God had magnified His mercy upon her in removing her barrenness, and so taking away her reproach from among men; in giving her strength to conceive, and bring forth a son, that son was to be very great, as the prophet of the Highest; and this child was much more than a prophet, and much greater than any born of women.
And they rejoiced with her . . . just as the angel had foretold they would, (verse 14).
Luke 1:59 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. (KJV)
And it came to pass that on the eighth day . . . the precise time fixed in the normal restitution of the order of circumcision (Gen.17:12), although this was not always attended to correctly, for circumcision was sometimes deferred to later time; yet keeping the exact time was judged most commendable and praiseworthy. Phil.3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (KJV)
They came to circumcise the child. . . meaning the neighbors and cousins of Elisabeth, who were at the time of her delivery; eight days after they came again to be at the circumcision of the child: who was the operator is not known; nor was there any particular person appointed for this service; for any one of them might do it, whether ecclesiastic or laic, men or women, father or mother, or any other friend.
The circumcision of John seems to be performed in Zacharias's house, and by one of those that came; for Zacharias, being dumb, could not say the blessing which the circumciser was obliged to say: nor indeed could he say that, which, as the father of the child, belonged to him; concerning which, take the following account. How many of Elisabeth's neighbors and relations were present at this ceremony, is not told, but the Jews require ten persons as witnesses of it, and from the naming and circumcision of Isaac, mentioned together, (Gen.21:13-14).
And they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father . . . as the neighbors of Naomi gave a name to the son of Boaz and Ruth, calling him Obed, (Ruth 4:17). This they took upon them to do, because that Zacharias was deaf and dumb; but why they should call him by his name, cannot well be accounted for, it not usual to call the father, and the son, by the same name; unless they wanted to continue that same name in the family, which had been famous in Israel as a prophet and a priest.
Luke 1:60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. (KJV)
And his mother answered and said, not so, but he shall be called John . . . Elisabeth, knew that John was the name the angel said he should be called . . . whether by divine revelation, she being filled with the Holy Ghost (verse 41), or by information of her husband, who had no doubt, in writing, gave her an account of all that the angel had said unto him.
Luke 1:61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. (KJV)
And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name . . . her neighbors and relations, spoke up saying that there is none of thy kindred that is called by this name; from this it appears, that it was usual to give names to children after their ancestors, relations, and friends.
Luke 1:62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. (KJV)
And they made signs to his father . . . who was deaf, as well as dumb; otherwise there would have been no occasion to have signs made to him: so the word used in (verse 20) means both deaf and dumb. Such a method as these took with Zacharias, about the name of his son, is directed to in case of a father's deafness.
How he would have him called . . . by what name, Zacharias or John; and they were right in applying to him, to whom it most properly belonged, to give a name to his child.
Luke 1:63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. (KJV)
And he asked for a writing table . . . that is, he made signs for one, for as yet Zacharias could not speak. They brought the table, on which they wrote with a style or pen;
And wrote, saying, his name is John . . . NOT that he must be, or shall be, so called; but this is his name, and no other; being what the angel had given him before his conception, and Zacharias now confirms.
And they marvelled all . . . they were astonished, not so much at the new name brought into the family, but instead, at the agreement between Elisabeth and Zacharias in this point, when the Zacharias was both deaf and dumb. They at this time, knew nothing, of the angel's message to him.
Luke 1:64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. (KJV)
And his mouth was opened immediately . . . just the moment that Zacharias names the child, and so all things accomplished which the angel had foretold,
And his tongue loosed . . . the speech impediments were removed, and he was able to use his tongue. He could now also speak.
And he spake and praised God. . . for the safe delivery of his wife; for the birth of his son, the forerunner of Christ; for the conception of the Messiah; for God's gracious regards to his church and people, and for restoring his speech and hearing to him, of which he had been quite some time deprived for his unbelief.
Luke 1:65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. (KJV)
And fear came on all that dwelt round about them . . . meaning the fear of God, a deep, heart-felt reverence for the divine majesty; they witnessed by the Hand of God was in these things, and that these were special effects of His divine power; and which had made very serious and lasting impressions upon their minds, so that they thought, and spoke of them with great somberness. (Acts 2:43; 5:11).
And all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. . . the numerous things relating to the appearance of the angel to Zacharias in the temple; his message to him; the striking him deaf and dumb; the conception of Elisabeth, who had been barren; the birth of her son; the unusual name given to him; and the more unusual manner in which it was given; and the opening of Zacharias's mouth, and the loosening of his tongue when he wrote what the child’s name would be. All these things were reported, and talked about everywhere, by all the people to that part of Judea, where the parents of John the Baptist lived.
Luke 1:66 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. (KJV)
And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts. . . all the above things, laid them up in their hearts; treasured them up in their memories, and often thought of them in their minds, what could be the meaning of all this?
Saying, what manner of child shall this be!. . . what will he be? What will he come to? And just what is it that he shall do? Surely he must be planned in God’s providence to be put into some high station, and some well-known work and service; since so many, and such great things, have gone before, and attended his birth.
And the hand of the Lord was with him . . . the word hand is used to mean aid, protection, favor. We stretch out the hand to help those whom we wish to help. The expression here means that God helped him, protected him, or showed him favor. Some think that these words are a part of the speech of the neighbors . . . "What manner of child shall this be? Since God is so obviously with him!"
Luke 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, (KJV)
And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost. . . with a spirit of prophecy, as his wife Elisabeth had been before (verse 41).
And prophesied . . . saying the following things, relating to the Messiah, His incarnation and redemption by Him; to the accomplishing of the covenant, oath, promise and mercy of God to his people; and to his son, the forerunner of Christ; and to His work and office, in the various parts and branches of it, which He should perform. It seems that the following song is of divine inspiration; and that Zacharias spoke it as he was moved by the Holy Ghost, as the prophets of old did.
Zachariah’s Prophecy (Luke 1:68-79)
Luke 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, (KJV)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel . . . this was a form of blessing of long standing (Ps.72:18). It was most likely in use, more or less, ever since Israel was set apart from other nations, became a body and were settled in the land of Canaan, in the enjoyment of peculiar privileges, both civil and religious; see other forms before it in (Gen.9:26; 24:27; Ex.18:10).
This type of blessing was very near being antiquated, and out of date; for when the birth of Christ occurred, the Son of God manifest in the flesh, so now the New Testament form of blessing is as in.
2 Cor.1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (KJV)
Eph.1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (KJV)
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (KJV)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel . . . the reason it is used here might be, because the Messiah is the main subject of this song, and He was especially promised to Israel, He was raised up for them, and sent to them (Rom.1:16; 2:10). Consider: to bless God, does not mean to invoke a blessing on Him; for there is NONE anywhere that is greater than He to ask for one; nor does He stand in need of any blessing, being the Creator, who is blessed forever in Himself, and is the fountain of blessedness to His creatures: and therefore, no one can suggest to confer a blessing on Him, but instead it means . . . to praise and glorify Him, because of the perfections of His nature, and the works of His Hands; and to give thanks to Him for all His mercies, spiritual and temporal; and especially for Christ Jesus, His mission, His incarnation, and salvation by Him alone (Jn.14:6), which are the things the God of Israel is blessed for in this song.
For he hath visited, and redeemed his people . . . as He did Israel of old (Ex.3:16-17). When the Lord looked on them, and delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt, this was a type and likeness of the redemption by Christ; and to which reference here seems to be had. The "people" here said to be visited, and redeemed, mean ALL the elect of God, NOT only among the Jews, but Gentiles too; all those whom God has chosen to be His people, and has in His covenant taken and declared to be such; whom He has given to Christ (Jn.10:29), as His people and portion (Isa.53:12); for whose sins He was stricken, and made reconciliation, and whom He saves from their sins. The "visiting" of them, is previous to redemption, may include God's look of love upon them from everlasting; His choice of them in Christ unto salvation (Tit.1:2; 2:13); the appointment and provision of a Saviour for them; the covenant of grace made with them in Christ, the foundation and security of their salvation.
Just what is the Covenant of Grace? It is a covenant made between God and sinful man with Christ Jesus serving as the Mediator (Heb.8:6; 12:24) of this covenant. In this covenant, God Promises to freely and graciously give sinful mankind salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ. The only thing God requires in return is FAITH in Him (JESUS) for salvation. This faith is the faith that trusts in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ for their salvation and not in their own efforts. It is called a Covenant of Grace because the salvation found in it is NOT earned or merited. The Covenant of Grace fulfills the Covenant of Works. What Adam could not do, Christ Jesus did. Since Christ fulfilled all of the stipulations of the Covenant of Works, God is now able to enter into a Covenant of Grace with His people . . . forgiving them their sins and counting them righteous in Christ (Rom.5:1).
Luke 1:69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; (KJV)
And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us . . . meaning the Messiah, whom God had now raised up,
In the house of his servant David . . . in David's family, the Man Jesus, being now conceived by a virgin of the house of David; and who, in a little time, would be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. He is called here "an horn of salvation", because He IS a powerful Saviour. "Horn" means power; it being that to a beast, as the arm is to a man, by which it defends itself, and pushes down its enemies. "Salvation" is the Work Christ came to do, for which He was raised up, and sent: and a majestic and mighty Saviour He is, as appears from what He did, the horrible suffering that He endured; as bearing ALL the sins of ALL His people, and making reconciliation for them; obeying all the precepts of the law, and undergoing the penalty of it; being made a curse (Gal.3:13), and becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross (Phil.2:8).
Luke 1:70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: (KJV)
As he spake, by the mouth of his holy prophets . . . this not only shows the Truth and faithfulness of God in His Promises, but the early indications that were given by Him concerning the Messiah: for,
Which have been since world began . . . or from the beginning of the world (Jn.1:1); ever since the first hint of the Messiah, as the seed of the woman, that should bruise the serpent's head (Gen.3:15). Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of Him, of His Second Coming, which supposes His First Coming (Jude 1:14). Lamech may be thought to have had some regard to him, when he named his son Noah, and said what he did concerning Him (Gen.5:25-31), Christ was spoken of to Abraham, as His Seed, in whom all nations of the earth should be blessed (Gen.12:2-3); and God spoke of Him by the patriarch Jacob, under the name of Shiloh, as who should spring from the tribe of Judah, before the scepter and lawgiver were departed from it. Moses foretold that there should arise a Prophet from the midst of his brethren like unto him, to whom the Israelites were to hearken (Deut.18:15). The prophets often speaks of Him, His death (53:12), His resurrection from the dead (Ps.16:10, His ascension to Heaven (Ps.68:18), and the evangelical prophet Isaiah predicts His birth of a virgin (Isa.7:14), and testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ (Isa.52:14), and the glory that should follow (Isa.9:6-7). Micah points out the very place of His birth (Mic.5:2) and Zechariah describes the manner of His entrance into Jerusalem, as riding on an ass (Zec.9:9). There are other prophets like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and others, who have prophesied of Him as well.
Luke 1:71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; (KJV)
That we should be saved from our enemies . . . this, and the two following verses, either contain and express the sum and substance of what God spoke by the prophets; or point out the end of His raising up an horn of salvation (2 Sam.22:3; Ps.18:2), meaning a Saviour for His people; namely, that they should be saved by Him from their enemies. Sin and Satan are our enemies! They are constantly at war with our soul! BEWARE!!! This warring against the soul threatens the destruction of it. The old devil is the confirmed and relentless adversary of mankind. He has been man’s enemy from the beginning of the world. He started with Eve then Adam, and he has NOT let up since! BEWARE!!! The seed of the serpent has always been an enemy to the seed of the woman. 1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (KJV)
Luke 1:72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; (KJV)
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers . . . mercy here means salvation by Christ, which comes from the fountainhead of mercy of God! The Promise of this was an instance of mercy to the Jewish fathers under the Old Testament, and also the performance of it; for they were saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus, even as we are . . . that being His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19), was shed for the remission of sins and for the redemption of our souls.
And to remember his holy covenant . . . this awesome covenant was made between God the Father and His Son from all eternity. It was at different times, dispensed and manifested to the patriarchs, and distinguished saints, such as Adam, Noah and Abraham.
This is called a "holy covenant”; not only because it was made by and between holy Persons, and provided for the holiness of the people of God, but because in the covenant is the redemption and salvation by Christ, which is here more mainly considered, and great care was taken to secure the glory of God's holiness and justice, as well as to display His grace and mercy. Now with the raising up of the Son of God, and sending Jesus as Saviour, showed that God was paying close attention to this covenant, and therefore sent redemption to His people.
Luke 1:73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, (KJV)
The oath which he swore to our father Abraham. . . He swore by Himself, because He could NOT swear by any greater, and that in the blessing God would bless him; that in the Oath, all the nations of the Earth would be blessed: all which have been fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah. (Gen.12:2; 22:16-18. Heb.6:13-14)
Luke 1:74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, (KJV)
That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear . . . what is said in this and the following verse, is the matter of the promised mercy, covenant, and oath, that we might obey, honor, and worship Him. This was regarded as a favor. This was what was promised, and for this Zacharias praised God. Without fear . . . fear of death, of spiritual enemies, or of external foes. In the sure hope of God's eternal favor beyond the grave. (Rom.6:22).
God had made these Promises to Abraham. But, Mary, Elisabeth, and Zacharias still believed that the Promises made to Abraham would be fulfilled. There are so many today who have given up and do NOT believe God will make good His Promises to Abraham. God does NOT lie! (Tit.1:2). IF you believe God is going to make good the Promise in (Jn.3:16), it would be extremely foolish for you to discount the Promises God made to Abraham, because the SAME God made both Promises!
Luke 1:75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. (KJV)
In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life . . . not just outward rites and legal ceremonies, but as the saints serve, deep, heart-felt words of praise, thankfulness, and of righteousness and true holiness; in which the new man is created, and of which the Kingdom of God, or spiritual and internal religion consists. Before him . . . it is one thing to serve the Lord with an outward appearance of holiness and righteousness before men, and another thing altogether different to BE righteous before God, and to walk in all His commandments and ordinances, as in His sight. All the days of our life; which means the consistency and persistence of this service; NOT just for a day or two, NOT only on holy and Sabbath days, BUT . . . every single day that we live. He must be honored and glorified!
Luke 1:76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; (KJV)
And thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest . . . here Zacharias turns his thoughts to his son John, although an infant, and incapable of knowing what was said to him; but for the sake of those that were present, describes his office and work; and says, that he should be "called", that is, that he should "be", and be accounted a "prophet"; for not only was John a preacher of Christ and His Gospel, but he also foretold the Coming of the Messiah; and the vengeance that would fall on the Jewish nation, for their unfruitfulness, impenitence and unbelief: John was the "Prophet of the Highest" . . . that is, of God, the most high God; and by whom is meant, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose prophet, harbinger, and forerunner John was; and so is a proof of Christ being the supreme, or most high God.
For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways . . . as the angel had suggested in (Lk.1:17) as was prophesied of him in (Isa.11:3;Mal.3:1). See: Mat.3:3.
Luke 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, (KJV)
To give knowledge of salvation . . . this is still speaking of John, and belongs to his work and office. To give knowledge . . . this as if it was spoken of the Lord, before whose Face John was to go, and whose ways John was to prepare. "Salvation" is NOT meant to be temporal salvation, or a deliverance from the Roman yoke, as the Jews were expecting, for John the Baptist gave NO hint of any such salvation; but instead, the salvation spoken of here is a spiritual and eternal salvation, and of Christ Himself, the Author of it (Heb.5:9; 12:2); and who is sometimes called Eternal Life (1 Jn.5:20), because He was appointed to this work, was the only One fitted for it, and has achieved it; and there IS salvation in Him, and in NO other. The "knowledge" of this is not imagined and unproven, but sure and certain! It is more exceptional, than any other kind of knowledge anywhere: and this is a "gift" (Rom.5:17-18; 6:23; Eph.2:8-9); that cannot be attained and acquired by application, diligence and work, as other sorts of knowledge; but is a gift of God. John is said to offer it in his ministry since he is an instrument in the Hand of God, whereby souls came to the knowledge of salvation by Christ, and when people believed in Christ, it was communicated by God through John’s ministry.
Unto his people. . . this does not mean the people following John the Baptist, the Jews, although it was true of God's elect among them. I think this means the people of Christ, NOT all mankind, who are His by Creation; but a special people, whom the Father has given Him (Jn.10:27-29), and whom He has redeemed by His Blood (Col.1:14); whom He justifies by His grace (Tit.3:7), thus making them a willing people, in the day of His power. To these, and only these, is the knowledge of salvation by Christ given.
By the remission of their sins . . . the word remission means pardon or forgiveness. It implies that God will treat the sinner as if he had not committed the sin. I don’t know about you, but for me, this is a tremendous blessing indeed! This indicates that the salvation to be offered is that which was connected with the pardon of our sin. Almighty God CANNOT call anyone His friends UNLESS they come to Him in repentance and obtain forgiveness from Him (1 Jn.1:8-9). When forgiveness is obtained, which He is always willing to grant, IF repentance is sincere, they can, and shall be, treated with great kindness and mercy.
My friend, sins are debts! Forgiving them is paying for these debts. God will accept absolutely NO payment for these debts EXCEPT our faith in Christ's work on the cross, and through His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19). Here and here alone, lies the blessedness and salvation of men.
Romans 4:6-8 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (KJV)
The knowledge of salvation was carried through the ministry of John, NOT by preaching the works of the law, but by the doctrine of remission of sins, by Christ (Mk.1:4; Jn.1:29). My friend, this is the sum and substance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It was preached by Christ, and was preached by His apostles.
Luke 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, (KJV)
Through the tender mercy of our God . . . or "bowels of mercy" (Col.3:12), to which the forgiveness of sin is owed. The source of pardon, is the free grace and abundant mercy of God. It is channeled through the Blood and Sacrifice of Christ; and which no way takes away from, but instead increases the riches of God's grace and mercy, because it was mercy that moved God to enter into a covenant with His Son, in which forgiveness of sin is promised; and it was mercy to set forth His Son, in His eternal purposes and decrees; and to send Him forth in the fullness of time (Gal.4;4), to shed His Blood for the remission of sins.
My friend, it was the mercy of God to us that provided a Lamb for a burnt offering, and then accepted the Sacrifice and Satisfaction of His Son, in our place on that cross, and forgave all our sins, for His sake. Whatever the pardon of our sins cost God and Christ, it is all free grace and mercy to us. It is to the mercy of "our" God; our God in Christ, our covenant God and Father, whose bowels yearned towards us, and whose pity is that of a tender, loving parent.
The dayspring from on high hath visited us . . . the dayspring, is the same which the Septuagint use, in (Jer.23:5; Zec.3:8; 6:12), where the Messiah is spoken of, under the name of the "branch", and without a doubt, the Messiah Jesus, is intended here, who is the Man, that Branch, that has grown up out of His place; not from below, but from above; and who is the Bringer of light, that bright and morning star (Rev.22:16), that sun of righteousness (Mal.4:2). The Messiah, has light in Himself, and transfers light to others; natural light, spiritual light and eternal light. His rays and beams of light, life and love, refresh, revitalize and warms the hearts of His people. This means the morning light, the rising of the sun. It is called the dayspring from on high because the light of Gospel shines forth from Heaven. God is its author, and through His mercy it shines on men. There is no doubt a reference to (Isa.40:1-2), for almost the very words of that place are quoted. Also see: ( Isa.11:1; Zec.3:8; 6:12; Rev.22:16).
Luke 1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (KJV)
To give light to them that sit in darkness . . . John the Baptist was a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel (Lk. 2:32). This means God's elect among the Jews, were NOT only in a state of unregeneracy: NOT being renewed in heart and mind; NOT reborn in spirit; unrepentant; and refusing to believe in the existence of God. This is a state of darkness, ignorance, and unbelief! But in the darkness of the legal dispensation, and at this time under more than ordinary darkness and ignorance; they had lost the knowledge of the righteousness of God, and of the spirituality of his law.
In the shadow of death . . . the Jews were/are sitting in the shadow of death, this seems to be a state seemingly irrecoverable, but when John the Baptist showed up, Christ, the Great Light arose, and shone upon them. John communicated spiritual light and life of the Messiah to them.
To guide our feet into the way of peace. . . this is taken from travelers, who being overtaken by night knowing not what to do, sit and wait patiently for the morning light, that they may know which way to go. Any time man wanders in the darkness, he becomes disadvantaged. He sits in the shadow of death, knowing not which way to go until the Sun of Righteousness arose, and only then did the Light shine brightly on his path, and the road was open to the promised land of rest.
Man simply did not know which way to go, until Christ came to teach us how to make our peace with God, and showing us that peace with God, comes ONLY by the Blood of the cross; of Christ. And so by His Spirit and His Word, we are led in paths of righteousness. (Mat.4:16).
This song of Zacharias is very beautiful. It expresses with elegance the great points of the plan of redemption, and the mercy of God in providing that plan. That mercy is great. It is worthy of praise . . . of our highest and greatest songs of thanksgiving . . . for we were in the shadow of death . . . sinful, wretched, wandering . . . and the Light arose, the Gospel came, and now we may rejoice in hope of eternal life. (Isa. 9:2; Tit.1:2).
Luke 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel. (KJV)
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit . . . as John, the son of Zacharias and Elisabeth, grew in stature of body, he increased greatly in wisdom and knowledge, and fortitude in his soul.
And was in the deserts . . . the desert; not in the wilderness of Judea, where he came preaching, but either of Ziph or Maon, which were near to Hebron (1 Sam.23:14,24,25). John was NOT brought up in the schools of the prophets, nor in the academies of the Jews, or at the feet of any of their Rabbis and doctors; the reason being that it might appear that he was not taught and sent of men, but instead of God! Neither did he dwell in any of the cities, or larger towns, but in deserts; partly that he might be fitted for that severity and strictness of life, he was to appear in and that it might be perfectly clear he had no knowledge whatsoever, nor communication with Jesus, whose forerunner he was, and of whom he was to bear testimony. Until such time he did come forth, John remained in this complete solitude in the desert, remained there until,
The day of his showing himself to Israel . . . he was thirty years of age, when he appeared in his prophetic office, and showed himself to the people of Israel; to whom he came preaching the doctrine of repentance and remission of sins, administering the ordinance of baptism, giving notice of the near approach of the Messiah, and pointing him out unto the people.
Luke tells of different things much more abundantly than the other Gospel writers do. He is especially careful of those things which relate to the priestly office of Christ Jesus. When Luke was under that voluntary confinement with Paul, he had time to compile these two histories, of the Gospel of Luke and Acts. Some write that he suffered martyrdom; but, if he did, where and when is uncertain.
Gospel of Luke
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . ch.7 . . ch.8 . . ch.9 . . ch.10 . . ch.11 . . ch.12 . . ch.13 . . ch.14 . . ch.15 . . ch.16 . . ch.17 . . ch.18 . .ch.19. . ch.20 . .ch.21 . . ch.22 . . ch.23 . . ch.24