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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Luke's Gospel

(Return to Framework Contents)

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Luke, chapter 1

 

v.1-4    Introduction
v.5-25   The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
v.26-38 The Birth of Jesus Foretold
v.39-45 Mary Visits Elizabeth
v.46-56 Mary's Song
v.57-66 The Birth of John the Baptist
v.67-80 Zechariah's Song

 

v.1-4 Introduction

 

v.1,2 (there have already been a number of accounts written that originated with those who were with Christ) Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

v.3,4 (carefully investigating these things I too decided to write a further orderly account to reassure you of what you have been taught) With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

 

v.5-25 The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

 

v.5 (it all started with a priest called Zechariah) In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.

v.6 (he and his wife Elizabeth were both good and righteous people) Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commands and decrees blamelessly.

v.7 (sadly they were childless but were both now very old [past child-bearing age]) But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

v.8,9 (on one occasion when he was on duty at the temple it became his turn to go in do the burning of incense) Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

v.10 (everyone else remained outside praying) And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

v.11 (suddenly an angel turned up in there) Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.

v.12 (he was scared stiff) When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.

v.13 (the angel sought to reassure him and told him Elizabeth would have a son to be called John) But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

v.14,15 (this John will be very special) He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

v.16 (he will bring about a return of the people of Israel to the Lord) He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.

v.17 (ministering in the same spirit as Elijah restoring family unity in the land) And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

v.18 (Zechariah doubted and questioned the possibility of this) Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

v.19 (Look, said the angel, I come from God's very presence with this message) The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.

v.20 (OK, you doubt, so you can be dumb until the child comes) And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

v.21 (outside they wondered why he was delayed inside) Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.

v.22 (when he came out he had to sign what had happened) When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

v.23 (at the end of his shift he returned home) When his time of service was completed, he returned home.

v.24 (and somehow (!!!) Elizabeth conceived) After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.

v.25 (she rejoiced at his gift of God) “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favour and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

 

v.26-38 The Birth of Jesus Foretold

 

v.26,27 (about six months later the same angel went to Mary, who was engaged (we might say) to Joseph) In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

v.28 (the angel greets her warmly) The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

v.29 (she is uncertain about this) Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

v.30 (so he reassures her) But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.

v.31 (he tells he she will have a son to be called Jesus) You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.

v.32,33 (he too will be very special) He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

v.34 (Mary's only question is how to bring this about because (being righteous) she was not married) “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

v.35 (the angel explains the Holy Spirit will bring it about, the birth of the Son of God) The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

v.36,37 (he explains about Elizabeth to encourage her) Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

v.38 (Mary humbly consents) “I am the Lord's servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

 

v.39-45 Mary Visits Elizabeth

 

v.39,40 (Mary goes to visit Elizabeth) At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.

v.41 (at the sound of Mary's voice Elizabeth is filled with the Spirit and the baby in her leaped) When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

v.42 (she senses something of what is happening to Mary) In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

v.43 ( … and questions why she has come) But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

v.44 (she tells what just happened) As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

v.45 (and declares the wonder of God's blessing that comes to believers) Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”

 

v.46-56 Mary's Song

 

v.46-49(Mary pours out what appears as prophecy) And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.

v.50 (in that God's blessing has come to her) His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

v.51 (for he blesses the humble and deals with the proud) He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

v.52 (yes, He brings down might rulers but blesses the humble) He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

v.53 (he reverses the fortunes of men and women) He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

v.54,55 (and now He's come to bless His people as promised) He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

v.56 (she stays, it would appear, until John is about due) Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

 

v.57-66 The Birth of John the Baptist

 

v.57 (Elizabeth has her son) When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.

v.58 (the neighbours rejoice with her) Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

v.59,60 (at the time of naming the child, Elizabeth declares him to be John) On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

v.61 (they question this) They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

v.62 (they ask Zechariah) Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child.

v.63 (he confirms this in writing) He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.”

v.64 (suddenly he is no longer dumb) Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.

v.65 (the neighbours are amazed at all this) All the neighbours were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.

v.66 (and everyone wondered who the baby would become) Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord's hand was with him.

 

v.67-80 Zechariah's Song

 

v.67 (Zechariah prophesies) His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

v.68-75 (he praises God for having brought a channel for salvation into the Land as prophesied) “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us  in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors  and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

v.76-79 (this child will be a prophet, preparing the way of the Lord) And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

v.80 (thus John grew and lived in the desert) And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.