Luke 1: Luke includes the most detailed narrative of the events before, during and after the birth of Messiah. Luke was meticulous in his details.
(Luke 1:1 NASB) Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,
(Luke 1:2 NASB) just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us,
Luke 1:2: The prologue to Luke’s writing (1:1-4) constitutes one of the most remarkable literary and theological sentences in literature (all four verses are only one sentence in Greek). Luke wrote in the finest literary Greek known as koine (coin-nay) Greek. These first four verses have affinities with the preambles of the historians Herodotus, Polybius, and others and incorporates much of the language of the ancient Greek physicians Galen and Hippocrates.
(Luke 1:3 NASB) it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;
(Luke 1:4 NASB) so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
Luke 1:4: Luke tells us that there were eyewitnesses who composed accounts of the life of Messiah also. He states that he thoroughly investigated these things carefully from the beginning himself and wanted to write it out in consecutive order to Theophilus.
(Luke 1:5 NASB) In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
Luke 1:5: “Zacharias” means “Yahweh has remembered.” Since the days of David, the priesthood was organized into 24 divisions (1 Chr. 24:1-19). This was done partly because of the large number of priests. Each division would provide priestly service for a week twice each year. Abijah was the eighth division, and one of only four divisions which returned from the Babylonian captivity.
His wife, Elizabeth, was also a descendant of Aaron.
(Luke 1:6 NASB) And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
Luke 1:6: Zacharias and Elizabeth followed Torah all their lives. They walked “blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of Yahweh” (Prov. 28:18, Psalm 84:11-12).
The Greek word “blameless” or “blamelessly” is amemptos. Paul tells us to walk precisely this same way using this same Greek word (Phil 2:15, Col. 1:22, 1 Thess. 3:13). Paul tells us we are to walk blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of Elohim just as Zacharias and Elizabeth..
(Luke 1:7 NASB) And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
(Luke 1:8 NASB) Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division,
(Luke 1:9 NASB) according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
Luke 1:9: Zacharias was performing the duties of the High Priest at this time (Exod. 30:7-8).
(Luke 1:10 NASB) And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.
(Luke 1:11 NASB) And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.
(Luke 1:12 NASB) And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him.
(Luke 1:13 NASB) But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.
Luke 1:13: We are told in verse 19 that this angel was Gabriel. He tells Zacharias that he and Elizabeth will have a son and they will give him the name of John.
(Luke 1:14 NASB) “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
(Luke 1:15 NASB) “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.
Luke 1:15: John was under the Nazarite vow all his life. There were a few restraints when one took this vow (Numbers 6:1-8).
(Luke 1:16 NASB) “And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.
(Luke 1:17 NASB) “And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Luke 1:17: It is here that we are told that John would be the one who would perform the prophesied works of Elijah before the great and terrible day of Yahweh (Mal. 4:5-6). John is going to turn the hearts of the people back to Torah to make ready a people prepared for Elohim.
Yeshua told us that John was Elijah (Matt. 17:11-12, Mark 9:11-13).
(Luke 1:18 NASB) And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
(Luke 1:19 NASB) And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
(Luke 1:20 NASB) “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their proper time.”
Luke 1:20: Elohim displays His mercy and righteousness by still using Zacharias for this purpose even though he doubted it and by punishing him by taking his speech away from him for nine months or so.
(Luke 1:21 NASB) And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple.
(Luke 1:22 NASB) But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute.
(Luke 1:23 NASB) And it came about, when the days of his priestly service were ended, that he went back home.
Luke 1:23: People were wondering what was causing his delay. He could not speak, but he communicated to them about the vision he had in the Temple. When he finished his seven day service, he went home. He knew that he now had unfinished business at home….
(Luke 1:24 NASB) And after these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant; and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying,
(Luke 1:25 NASB) “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”
Luke 1:25: Elizabeth knew that childlessness was a curse and now she knows that Elohim was looking upon her with favor.
(Luke 1:26 NASB) Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth,
(Luke 1:27 NASB) to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
(Luke 1:28 NASB) And coming in, he said to her, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
(Luke 1:29 NASB) But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.
Luke 1:29: The scene now changes from Zacharias and Elizabeth to a woman with a barren womb because of her virginity. In the cases of these two women, as with the case of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, the conception of the child was miraculous in that it was life from barrenness, or lifelessness or death.
(Luke 1:30 NASB) And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
(Luke 1:31 NASB) “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
(Luke 1:32 NASB) “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
(Luke 1:33 NASB) and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.”
Luke 1:33: Mary found favor with Elohim. This is the same Greek word meaning “grace.”
She will bear a Son who will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever. Notice that He will reign over “the House of Jacob” (Israel), not over some Gentile religious entity.
(Luke 1:34 NASB) And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
(Luke 1:35 NASB) And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.
(Luke 1:36 NASB) “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
(Luke 1:37 NASB) “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 1:37: Mary is told of the conception within Elizabeth also. And she is told that nothing is impossible with Elohim.
(Luke 1:38 NASB) And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38: Mary, unlike Zacharias, did not doubt the word of Gabriel. She called herself a bondslave of Elohim for Elohim to do His will. With that, Gabriel departed.
(Luke 1:39 NASB) Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah,
(Luke 1:40 NASB) and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
(Luke 1:41 NASB) And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:41: Mary left to visit Elizabeth. When Mary said, “Hello,” Elizabeth’s baby jumped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit, therefore she knew well of Mary’s situation.
(Luke 1:42 NASB) And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
(Luke 1:43 NASB) “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
(Luke 1:44 NASB) “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
Luke 1:44: Right away, Elizabeth, through the Spirit of the Father, knew that Mary was carrying the Messiah. She knew that Mary was the mother of the Master and she related to Mary how Baby John jumped when he heard her voice.
These words of Elizabeth are highly revered by the Catholic Church. Granted, Elizabeth is speaking from what was revealed to her from the Father. However, her next phrase shows that she probably has a hint of sarcasm within herself.
(Luke 1:45 NASB) “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
Luke 1:45: These words sound like they are sarcastically directed at her husband. She speaks of how blessed is she who believed in the fulfillment as opposed to the curse of those who did “not” believe in the fulfillment of what had been spoken by Elohim (Luke 1:19-20)
(Luke 1:46 NASB) And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord,
(Luke 1:47 NASB) And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
(Luke 1:48 NASB) “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
Luke 1:48: In this passage, Mary acknowledges Elohim as her Savior. She considers herself the bondslave of Elohim, just as we should all be for Him.
(Luke 1:49 NASB) “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.
(Luke 1:50 NASB) “AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
Luke 1:50: Mary acknowledges that the Name of the Father is set-apart. She then quotes (or paraphrases) several phrases in the Tanakh (Ex. 20:5-6, Psalm 103:11, 17-18, 115:13-15, 118:4, Mal. 3:16-18).
(Luke 1:51 NASB) “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
(Luke 1:52 NASB) “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.
(Luke 1:53 NASB) “HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; AND SENT AWAY THE RICH EMPTY-HANDED.
Luke 1:53: Mary continues with quotes from His Word (Psalm 107:8-9).
(Luke 1:54 NASB) “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,
(Luke 1:55 NASB) As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his offspring forever.”
(Luke 1:56 NASB) And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.
Luke 1:56: Mary stayed for three months. It was close to the time Elizabeth was going to give birth.
(Luke 1:57 NASB) Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she brought forth a son.
(Luke 1:58 NASB) And her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.
(Luke 1:59 NASB) And it came about that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father.
Luke 1:59: They were to circumcise the baby on the eighth day as according to Torah (Lev. 12:2-3).
(Luke 1:60 NASB) And his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.”
(Luke 1:61 NASB) And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.”
(Luke 1:62 NASB) And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called.
(Luke 1:63 NASB) And he asked for a tablet, and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished.
Luke 1:63: It was customary to name a son after the father or after other men in the family. Elizabeth knew what his name was to be according to the message from Elohim. Zacharias could have just nodded in agreement with Elizabeth. However, writing it on a tablet just “set it in stone” so to speak. Zacharias showed his desire to obey the command of Elohim.
(Luke 1:64 NASB) And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.
(Luke 1:65 NASB) And fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea.
(Luke 1:66 NASB) And all who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
Luke 1:66: It is likely that the taking away of Zacharias’ speech was physically visible. Regardless, this curse of being speechless was removed and the people marveled.
(Luke 1:67 NASB) And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
(Luke 1:68 NASB) “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
(Luke 1:69 NASB) And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant–
(Luke 1:70 NASB) As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old–
(Luke 1:71 NASB) Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US;
Luke 1:71: Zacharias was filled with the Spirit of Elohim and quoted the prophecy in the Psalms (Psalm 106:10, 47).
(Luke 1:72 NASB) To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant,
(Luke 1:73 NASB) The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
(Luke 1:74 NASB) To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,
(Luke 1:75 NASB) In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
(Luke 1:76 NASB) “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;
Luke 1:76: John was to be called the prophet of the Most High. Zacharias knew that John was going before Elohim to prepare His ways (Isa. 40:3-5, Mal. 3:1). How did John prepare the people for His ways? He told them that they should repent of their lawlessness, follow the Torah of Elohim, because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matt. 3:1-3). What did John mean by “Make His paths straight?” He meant for the people to follow His Torah and to cease following the crooked paths taught by the religious leaders.
(Luke 1:77 NASB) To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins,
(Luke 1:78 NASB) Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us,
(Luke 1:79 NASB) TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1:79: John’s message was one of repentance and forgiveness. This would prepare the path for the Light of the World to come and shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Once again, this is a quote from the Tanakh (Isa. 9:2, 60:1-3). He will guide our feet into the way of peace, which is through following His Torah (Psalm 25:8-10)
(Luke 1:80 NASB) And the child continued to grow, and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
Luke 1:80: John grew in stature and in Spirit. He lived in the deserts until his time had come.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas