Luke is first mentioned in Acts 16:10; Acts 16:11, with Paul at Troas and was with him in his voyage, and in his imprisonment at Rome. Luke’s Gospel was an answer to the many incorrect writings and narratives being circulated in that day. It is obvious that he set out to give a genuine account of the life, miracles and things our Lord spoke of from the people who heard him and saw the miracles, the people that were there. Luke tends to write about the things that are to be believed. Much of what he writes about is from those who were from the beginning eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, and who were perfected in their understanding of them through Divine inspiration.
It is important we understand that the father and mother of John the Baptist were normal everyday people who most likely had sinned and were justified and saved just the same way as others and were well thought of for their religious behavior and integrity. They had no children, and it was very unlikely that Elisabeth should have any in her old age. Zacharias was burning incense in the Temple and praying, many others were in prayer outside. These were difficult times for Elizabeth because motherhood held a special place in Jewish traditions. A Jewish woman often felt she has not fulfilled her duty if she had not had children. Zacharias, Elizabeth and their friends had prayed over the years but it had not happened. I like to think that there is a prayer file with my name on it in heaven. Luke writes that our prayers might not be answered or not in the way we wanted but prayers of faith filed in heaven are not forgotten. Luke also writes of prayers that those offered are successful only because of the intercession of Christ, our mediator in heaven. Our prayer must be one of earnest faith and be in the spirit. The scripture makes plain that time is not a factor as prayers can be answered that were lifted up in our youth or even in our way out of this world. It is here that we learn that Zacharias will have a son. This good news also says that he will bring many souls to God and be responsible preparing them to receive the gospel of Christ. He shall do so with courage, zeal and holiness and his mind shall be dead to earthly interests and pleasures. It doesn’t stop there…those who have been disobedient will receive the wisdom of days past and come to value the new wisdom of the Just One who will be coming among them. While burning incense in the Temple an Angel of the Lord spoke to him. Zacharias heard all the angel said but reacted with disbelief. God then struck him dumb because he had reacted with unbelief of God’s word. He was now unable to speak thus preventing his sharing those distrustful, unbelieving words. God had dealt fairly with Zacharias.
In verses 26-38 we are privileged to read of Mary’s encounter with the Angel of God. The angel speaks… ‘Hail, thou that art the especially chosen and favored of the Most High, to attain the honor Jewish mothers have so long desired.’ The sudden appearance and the greeting left Mary somewhat troubled. Mary’s reply to the angel was given without asking for a sign to confirm her faith. We must follow Mary’s example here…in all things there is nothing impossible for God. It is only fitting and all that need be said…Behold the willing servant of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.
This next section of verses has many elements that blend with those who are conscious of the Holy Spirit and shows us the importance of Christian fellowship. Elisabeth is aware that Mary is near and welcomes her as the soon to be mother of the Redeemer. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit she declared to Mary that she and her expected child were blessed and should be happy to know that they were most blessed and peculiarly honored of and dear to the Most High God. Because of Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary is astounded and overcome with joy. Words of praise and thanks pour froth from Mary’s mouth and space will not allow me to include Mary’s song of praise but it is contained in these verses…Luke chapter 1:46-56. As we continued in this first chapter of Luke in these next verses 57-66 we have the account of the birth of John the Baptist. There was great joy at the birth of John among all his family and it was made known that he would be called Johanan or gracious because he will Shepard in the gospel of Christ. It was at this time when the question of his name was asked that just as God had said, Zacharias regained his voice and spoke. Because of his unbelief God had closed his mouth and now because of his belief God has opened his mouth. God’s gift of speech, the ability to express ourselves is best put to use when praising our God. Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke these words of prophecy which can be read in Luke 1:67-80.
I encourage you to read both Mary’s Song in chapter 1 of Luke vv. 46-56 and the prophecy of Zacharias also found in Luke 1:67-80. Next week we take a closer look at Mary’s song, also referred to as The Magnificat, meaning “my soul magnifies the Lord” in Latin.
Life is Good