Introduction: We start a new series studying the Gospel of Luke. I’m
excited, and I hope you are too. Luke is a physician and a historian.
He is an educated man who is writing for a non-Jewish audience. When
you write, do you want to be clear? I know some writers are more
concerned about you concluding that they are smart, rather than being
clear. Luke wants to be clear. He suggests that he will bring a
better account than any prior accounts of the life of Jesus. Let’s
dig into Luke and his clear teachings about our Lord Jesus!
- The Background
- Read Luke 1:1-2. How many have written an account of the
life of Jesus? (Luke says that “many” undertook to make an
- Why do you think that happened? (Notice that Luke
mentions “handed down” by “eyewitnesses” who believed
in Jesus. The more alert followers of Jesus realized
that it was important to pass down an accurate
account from those who actually witnessed Jesus’ life
– and that would require writing it down.)
- When Luke refers to those things “fulfilled,” what do
you think he means? (He believes that Jesus fulfilled
the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. Thus,
Luke believes that Jesus continues the message of the
- Read Luke 2:3-4. If many have already written an account,
why does Luke think he needs to write one? (When Luke uses
the term “orderly account,” that tells me he thinks prior
accounts are missing something important – a proper
- How accurate an account is Luke making? (He is
familiar with “many” other accounts. He says he has
“carefully investigated everything from the
beginning” so that those who read his account may
have “certainty” about what happened. Sounds
wonderful to me!)
- Read Acts 1:1-3. What does this tell us about Luke’s
writings? (He is the historian of the early church. He
wrote his first volume (the Gospel of Luke) to record
Jesus’ teachings and actions until the time He was taken
to heaven. The second volume is about the proof of Jesus’
resurrection and the leadership of the Holy Spirit in the
- Aside from Luke’s assurance that he is being careful,
accurate and orderly, why should we believe his
accounts? (We see that he is convinced. He has been
involved, he has investigated, and he believes that
Jesus is the Messiah.)
- John the Baptist
- Read Luke 1:5-7. We have a short biography of Zechariah
and Elizabeth. Are they good people? (Yes.)
- Are they happy people? (They are getting old and they
missed the joy of having children.)
- Read Luke 1:8-13. Did Zechariah and Elizabeth care about
not having children? (Yes. They have apparently been
praying about this for a long time.)
- How do you react when you are obedient to God, you
have been asking for a long time for some good thing,
and God does nothing? (Heaven kept a record of their
prayers for a child.)
- How did Zechariah come to be in the temple? (He was
both assigned (with his group) to temple duty, and he
was chosen by “lot” to serve inside the temple.)
- Do you think this is unnecessary detail? (No.
It shows how God used existing order and divine
direction to put Zechariah and the angel
- Read Luke 1:14-17. Study these words carefully, What is
the angel saying about the future of their son, John?
- Now think about all of the rebellious thoughts that
Zechariah and Elizabeth could have had (and probably
did have) against God. They were obedient, yet the
desire of their lives was withheld from them. What
lesson do we learn about prayers that seem
unanswered? (God has something much greater in mind.
We need to trust God’s love for us!)
- Read Luke 1:18-20. What does this tell us about
Zechariah’s faith? (Look again at Luke 1:6. He is called
“upright” and “blameless.” Praise God for His generous
view of us! When the prayer of Zechariah’s life is about
to be fulfilled, he expresses doubt!)
- Consider Gabriel’s reaction to Zechariah’s doubt.
What would you have said if you were Gabriel? (I
would have been irritated with his doubt. “Remember
those prayers of yours?” “I’ve come a long way.”
“How many angels have you talked to in the past?”)
- How did Gabriel “prove” his statement? (He describes
his “credentials.” Then he brings immediate proof of
the credibility of his words.)
- Read Luke 1:26-28. The sixth month of what? (We skipped
reading a few verses. If you look at Luke 1:24 you will
see that the story picks up in the sixth month of
Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Gabriel is traveling to earth at
least twice a year!)
- How would you like this greeting?
- Read Luke 1:29. Why would Mary be troubled? (If someone
walked up to me with many compliments, I might wonder what
that person wanted.)
- Read Luke 1:30-33. Do you have high hopes for your
children? Take just a few moments and consider what Mary
learned about the future of her Son!
- Read Luke 1:34. Of all the questions Mary might have asked
about this amazing prophecy, why does she ask this one?
(This one has the most immediate impact on her.)
- Compare what Mary asked in Luke 1:34 with what
Zachariah asked in Luke 1:18. Which is better?
(Zachariah wanted a guarantee that Gabriel was
telling the truth, whereas Mary wanted to understand
- Read Luke 1:35-38. What do you think about Mary’s faith?
- Is God still in the business of selecting special children
for special parents?
- The Birth of Jesus
- Read Luke 2:1-7. Let’s consider what we have discussed so
far. God arranged for Zachariah to be at the right place
to meet the angel, God performed a miracle for the births
of John and Jesus. Is God on vacation when Jesus is born?
Why not also work out a room and bed in the inn?
- What do you think Mary thought about the great
contrast between her circumstances and the fact her
child was the Messiah/King? (God has a strategy. I
think that strategy has something to do with humans
being able to identify with their incarnate God.)
- Read Luke 2:8-15. Why did the angels appear to shepherds?
Were these the prominent citizens of the day? (Read
Genesis 46:34. It was not a top profession, at least not
in Egypt. I think God’s strategy is getting clearer.)
- Read Luke 2:16-20. What was Mary pondering? Do you think
it was that the arrival of her King was not exactly how
she would have imagined it? Or, is she still having
trouble adjusting to the idea that her Son is the
Messiah/King, and these shepherds just confirmed that He
was “Christ the Lord” ( Luke 2:11)?
- Read Luke 2:25-27. How important is the Holy Spirit in the
life of Simeon? (He was a Spirit-filled man, just as we
- What do you think about the angels speaking to the
shepherds and the Holy Spirit speaking to Simeon?
(This is heaven’s coordinated effort.)
- Read Luke 2:28-33. Why were Mary and Joseph amazed at
Simeon’s statement? (This shows they still had not
completely grasped the nature of their Son.)
- What do you think about his reference to the
Gentiles? (Good news for us!)
- Simeon follows the shepherds in meeting Jesus. Why
not let the Spirit-filled guy who was waiting for
Jesus be first? (More of God’s strategy? Consider
- Friend, what do you think of a God who gives up so much to
be with us? When I asked you to consider God’s strategy,
was it a strategy to benefit God? Of course not. What
about deciding today to adopt a strategy of life that will
- Next week: Baptism and the Temptations.