INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF LUKE
AUTHOR: All early sources point to the fact that the third gospel was indeed written by Luke- Luke is also mentioned in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; and in Philemon 24: Luke was a Gentile by birth from Antioch, and was was a physician by profession: Luke was also a fellow worker of Paul's we can see (Acts 20:6) where it is indicating because "WE" is plural tells us that Luke was with Paul as he traveled the coast of Asia Minor on his way to Jerusalem!!!
DATE: Looking at (Luke 1:1), Luke is indicating knowledge of other written sources: Most scholars believe he used Mark as a source, and he probably wrote his gospel from Greece or from Asia Minor in AD 70-80
MAJOR THEME: Luke has been called an "HISTORIAN" because Luke dated biblical events by reference to secular history (Luke 2:1-2; and Luke 3:1):
(2): THE ACTIVITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
(3): A DEEP CONCERN FOR SINNERS:
BACKGROUND: Luke's Gospel is the only one that addresses things to an individual: He wrote to reassure Theophilus, a Gentile and a new believer, that God was still at work in the Christian community that was founded by Jesus Christ our God!!!
1:1-4: LUKE WAS NOT A DISCIPLE FROM THE BEGINNING: yet he has a perfect understanding of the gospel that's because his sources were the apostles themselves, the TRUE EYEWITNESSES of Christ: Luke wrote his gospel to a prominent Gentile named THEOPHILUS, who had received Christian instruction, see (Acts 1:1): Early Saint, St. Ambrose, stated that Theophilus can simply mean any "love of God, and therefore he wrote- "if you love God, it was written to you."
JOHN'S BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT TO ZACHARIAS
1:5: HEROD: ruled Judea from 37-4 BC: He was a great builder but was also an extremely cruel leader: Luke is mentioning Herod's time to pinpoint the historical date of the birth of Jesus Christ: The ancient prophecy of Jacob indicated the Messiah would come when a king ruled who was not from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10): Herod was not a Jew, yet he called himself THE KING OF JUDEA, the coming of Christ was surely at hand:
1:6: ZACHARIAS AND ELIZABETH ARE RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD: The core of the inner being, and the holiness of John the Baptist came in part through the faith and piety of his parents!!!
1:7: TO BE BARREN WAS A PUBLIC REPROACH, (v. 25), but like Sarah (Genesis 16:1), Rebekah (Genesis 25:21), Rachel (Genesis 29:31), Hannah (1 Kg 1:2), and Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, Elizabeth's temporary barrenness was in fulfillment of God's plan for the salvation of His people!!!
1:8-10: EACH PRIEST WAS ASSIGNED TO A DIVISION- (see, 1 Chronicles 23:3-11; and 28:13): Twenty-four divisions in all, each serving a week at a time in rotation: The responsibilities of these divisions were decided by LOT, Zacharias here is assigned to the duties of the HIGH PRIEST- This event takes place at the time of the Atonement, when the high priest would enter the TEMPLE and make offerings for the sins of the people:
1:11: THE ALTAR OF THE LORD: Angels are ministering continually at the altar usually unseen: Those who are pure in heart such as in Zacharias are occasionally chosen by God to witness this angelic liturgy, see (Isaiah 6; Revelation 7:9-17):
1:13: AS HIGH PRIEST: Zacharias prayed not for A SON, but for the atonement of the sins of Israel- (Hebrews 9:7): Gabriel's (v. 19) announcement is revealing both that Zacharias' prayer for atonement will be answered AND THAT ELIZABETH WILL CONCEIVE A SON: This atonement will be announced by JOHN, Who will identify Christ as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)
1:15: He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb: see also (v. 41)
1:17: ELIJAH: is expected to reappear from heaven as the forerunner of the second coming of the LORD (Mal 4:5): John the Baptist is fulfilling the spirit of Elijah as he is the forerunner of the Lord's first coming, see also (Matthew 11:14)
1:20: YOU WILL BE MUTE: Zacharias is being disciplined for his lack of faith giving proof that Gabriel's announcement in (v. 19) is indeed true: the silencing of the high priest also reveals a deeper mystery: THE MESSIAH WAS EXPECTED TO FULFILL THREE CRUCIAL ROLES HELD BY VARIOUS PEOPLE IN THE OT: Prophet, Priest and King: Only Christ Jesus can be said to have fulfilled all three offices perfectly: He is the true Prophet- (Dt 18:15-18), The true King- (23:3; Isaiah 9:6; Mic 5:1), and the true High Priest- (Psalm 109:4; Hebrews 4:14): In Preparation for the Coming of Christ His 1st Coming, God silenced the prophets for many years- (see, v. 24), and also permitted an illegitimate usurper to occupy the position of the king of Judea (see, v. 5): So here, in the last days before Christ's coming , the high priest is also silenced: with these three roles vacant, illegitimate, and silent- all was in order for the Son of God to be revealed as the Prophet, King, and the High Priest!!!
1:24: ELIZABETH CONCEIVED: The conception of John the Baptist is celebrated on September 23, by the Orthodox Church, confirming the sanctity of martial relations for those past childbearing years: HID HERSELF: since the time of Malachi, God had not sent a great prophet to Israel- (1Mc 9:27): The reason for silencing the prophets was to serve an heighten anticipation of the Messiah and make it all more evident when He came: John the Baptist was the prophet preparing the way for Christ, he was kept hidden until Christ was conceived: Once Christ was conceived, John was revealed through the prophetic act of leaping in Elizabeth's womb (v. 41)- see also v. 20 and notes!!!
CHRIST'S BIRTH ANNOUNCED TO MARY
1:26: IN THE SIXTH MONTH: means the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John (v. 36)
1:27: THE NAME MARY: Means "EXALTED ONE": When Joseph is referred to as OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID, is revealing that Mary was descended from David's royal lineage, for a righteous man would usually marry within his own tribe (see, Luke 3:23-38) Twice in this verse and again by implication (Luke 1:34), Luke calls Mary a VIRGIN!!!
1:28: EVE BROUGHT FORTH CHILDREN IN SORROW- (Genesis 3:17): Mary, being the new Eve, will REJOICE in bringing forth her Son; as Eve had been cursed, so now Mary is blessed: HIGHLY FAVORED (Greek- "Charitou") also translates to "FULL OF GRACE": Mary is truly the most blessed woman who has ever lived because of her complete willingness to receive God's grace, or in the words of her Son, to "hear the word of God and keep it" (Luke 11:28)
1:31-33: GABRIEL'S ANNOUNCEMENT EMPHASIZES TWO TRUTHS: (1): YOU WILL CONCEIVE IN YOUR WOMB: The Lord Jesus took His flesh-His human nature-From Mary herself; and (2): this is the divine SON OF THE HIGHEST in Mary womb's: The one Person, Jesus, the eternal Son and the Word of God, is in fact both fully human and fully divine: Some teach that Mary conceived a mere man who was later joined by the divine Son of God!!!
1:34: MARY'S QUESTION, HOW CAN THIS BE???: Does not indicate a lack of faith in her unlike Zacharias' question did (v .18)- rather her question is inquiring into the manner in which something so extraordinary would happen!!!
1:35: HOLY ONE: is a messianic title (Psalm 15:10): The Revelation of the Holy Trinity (The Complete Package of God): The Father (the Highest), THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT:
1:38: MARY'S FAITHFUL: response is that of the highest obedience to God: the Incarnation is not only the work of God, but also a free response of mankind in the person of MARY: Eve once disobeyed, Mary now obeys, Eve closed herself to God, Mary opens to His will: Mary's response says- "I am a tablet; let the Writer write whatever he desires on it" (Theoph):
ELIZABETH PRAISES MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
1:41: CHRIST IS NOW INCARNATE: Prophecy resumes in Israel (see my notes on v. 20): The blessed John prophesies of the presence of Christ by leaping in the WOMB of Elizabeth: He is God's Prophet, John's recognition of Christ fulfills what was spoken of Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" (Jeremiah 1:5):
1:42: MARY RECEIVES VENERATION: from both angels and humans, as Gabriel had done (v. 28), so now Elizabeth declares Mary to be BLESSED AMONG WOMEN!!!
1:43: MARY IS CONFESSED AS THE MOTHER OF MY LORD: This confession, and others like it within the Church ("Theotokos"- Mother of God), is confirming that the One in the Womb of Mary is both human and divine-the very Son of God Himself:
MARY EXULTS IN GOD: THE MAGNIFICAT
1:46-56: THIS PASSAGE, CALLED THE MAGNIFICAT: from the first word of the song in Latin, comes from the heart of Mary, inspired by the song of Hannah (1Kg 2:1-10) Mary in (v. 48) Prophesied that ALL GENERATIONS WILL CALL ME BLESSED, (V. 49)- Mary is showing both deep humility and knowledge, that God is the source of all grace, and through the Incarnation, God reigns over all (vv. 50-55)
JOHN BORN AND NAMED & ZECHARIA'S SONG: THE BENEDICTUS
1:59: CIRCUMCISION WAS A SIGN: of Israel's covenant with God and the means by which a male became a member of God's community (Genesis 17:10-14; Lv 12:3): In Christ, circumcision is fulfilled in baptism- see (
Col 2:11- Romans 6 and read some of the article "Holy Baptism")
1:60-63: JOHN MEANS- "GRACE OF GOD": By insisting on the name God chose her son, Elizabeth affirms God has called John to a specific mission (see, also Luke 1:31; Genesis 17:5, 15- Genesis 32:28)
1:64-79: WHEN ZACHARIAS ASSENTED TO GOD'S WILL, HIS MOUTH WAS OPENED: Just as prophecy is restored at the Incarnation of Christ (see, my notes on v. 24), Zacharias as high priest, can speak again now that the Savior and His forerunner have come (see my notes on v. 24): Zacharias immediately declares Christ (vv. 68, and 69), and secondly declares the role of his own son as PROPHET OF THE HIGHEST (v. 76):
1:80: DWELLING IN THE DESERT: away from the stains and wickedness of the masses, John is able to fight temptation and grow STRONG IN SPIRIT: According to early saints, traditions of the Church, John was brought to THE DESERTS by Elizabeth when Zacharias was martyred, and there was ministered to by the angels!!!