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!

  1. The Background

    1. Read Luke 1:1-2. How many have written an account of the
      life of Jesus? (Luke says that “many” undertook to make an

      1. 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.)

      2. 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
        Old Testament.)

    2. 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

      1. 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!)

    3. 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
      early church.)

      1. 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.)

  2. John the Baptist

    1. Read Luke 1:5-7. We have a short biography of Zechariah
      and Elizabeth. Are they good people? (Yes.)

      1. Are they happy people? (They are getting old and they
        missed the joy of having children.)

    2. 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.)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

        1. Do you think this is unnecessary detail? (No.
          It shows how God used existing order and divine
          direction to put Zechariah and the angel

    3. Read Luke 1:14-17. Study these words carefully, What is
      the angel saying about the future of their son, John?

      1. 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!)

    4. 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!)

      1. 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?”)

      2. How did Gabriel “prove” his statement? (He describes
        his “credentials.” Then he brings immediate proof of
        the credibility of his words.)

  3. Jesus

    1. 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!)

      1. How would you like this greeting?

    2. 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.)

    3. 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!

    4. 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.)

      1. 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
        the process.)

    5. Read Luke 1:35-38. What do you think about Mary’s faith?

    6. Is God still in the business of selecting special children
      for special parents?

  4. The Birth of Jesus

    1. 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?

      1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

    3. 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)?

    4. 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
      should be.)

      1. What do you think about the angels speaking to the
        shepherds and the Holy Spirit speaking to Simeon?
        (This is heaven’s coordinated effort.)

    5. 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.)

      1. What do you think about his reference to the
        Gentiles? (Good news for us!)

      2. 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
        Matthew 9:13.)

    6. 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
      benefit others?

  5. Next week: Baptism and the Temptations.