Luke I

Lessons 1-6 for the Gospel of Luke


 

Luke Lesson 6

Scriptures for this lesson are taken from: Luke 6, Revelation 4, John 13.

Jesus is in Galilee going to the different towns teaching the people and healing the sick. At the beginning of Chapter 6, Jesus and His followers are hungry.

Jesus and His disciples eating grain in the field on the Sabbath

Jesus and His disciples eating grain in the field on the Sabbath

[Luke 6:1-5]  One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain with their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

The Scribes and Pharisees were accusing Jesus and His followers of breaking the Mosiac Law by working on the Sabbath. Jesus reminded them of the story of David when he was running from Saul who was trying to kill him because David was so popular with the people. David went to Nob to Ahimelech the priest and asked for food and a sword. Ahimelech gave David the showbread from the temple and Goliath’s sword. Only the priests were allowed to eat the week old showbread but this was an emergency situation. God did not harm David for eating the bread forbidden by the law, but protected him from Saul. Then Jesus said that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus called Himself the Son of Man. So He was saying the He, the Son of Man had the authority to say what was right and what was wrong to do on the Sabbath. Certainly the religious leaders were not happy with that one.

[Luke 6:6-11]On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus

Jesus heals the man's withered arm

Jesus heals the man’s withered arm

As Jesus traveled from town to town, it was His custom to go to the local synagogue on the Sabbath where He would read from the scripture scrolls and teach the people. The Scribes and Pharisees were there watching Him trying to find some reason to accuse Him of wrong doing.  When these religious leaders saw the man there with the shriveled arm they were waiting to see if Jesus would heal him and they could accuse Him of working on the Sabbath.  In the first century AD the Jews followed the Mishna which contained Hebrew oral traditions. In the Mishna there were 39 major activities that were forbidden on the Sabbath. Some of these restrictions came from the Torah but many were additions that had been added over the years. Jesus, knowing the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees, asked them if it was legal to do good on the Sabbath. Then He healed the man’s withered hand.  The Scribes and Pharisees continued to plot and plan what they could do to discredit Jesus.

[Luke 6:12-16] 12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Map of the Sea of Galilee

Map of the Sea of Galilee

Jesus was in Galilee in the area of the Sea of Galilee, probably near Capernaum. He had spent the night on the Mountain alone praying to God. The next morning He came down the mountain to join His disciples, followers who were traveling around with Him. Then the scripture tells us that Jesus chose 12 of His disciples to be apostles. First: let’s look at Jesus’ night in prayer. It seems logical that He was seeking God’s will about which of His followers He should be chose to be responsible for spreading the good news that the Messiah had come and to establish the church under the New Covenant. How would God choose men for such an important mission? Would He look into their hearts or into the future? Why would God choose a man who would be a traitor and betray Jesus? That question is obvious. Jesus’ mission was to die for our sins and God picked Judas, knowing that he was the kind of man who would betray Jesus at the right time for Him to be crucified according to God’s timetable. Each one of these men chosen to be Apostles had a specific mission to fulfill. Second: the word “disciple” means “follower.” Jesus had many many followers. He had called earlier Andrew and Peter and James and John.  He called Matthew (Levi) while he was collecting taxes. These men were disciples, followers, students. Now, Jesus had called 12 of these followers to be Apostles. “Apostle” means chosen for a specific purpose.  As stated above they were chosen to spread the gospel and establish the church the gentiles. Third: Why 12 Apostles? Why not 10 or 13?  For this answer we need to look back at the Old Covenant when God established His covenant with Abraham, and then with his son Isaac and with Isaac’s son Jacob. The 12 sons of Jacob became the 12 tribes of Israel who were God’s chosen people.  God chose these people to live according to His laws and to be an example and to teach all the peoples of the world about their God. Their other mission was to bring forth the Messiah in God’s time. Because of their unfaithfulness, the Nation of Israel failed in their mission to be an example to the world and to teach them how to follow the laws of God.  Instead they worshiped false gods. The mission God gave to Israel was taken away and given to the gentiles.  So Jesus chose 12 Apostles to be leaders and teachers of the New Covenant who would spread the gospel around the world through the gentile churches and bring people into the family of God. So the work begun by the 12 Apostles continues through the Church Age.

The 24 elders around the throne of God

The 24 elders around the throne of God

[Revelation 4:4] Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

I think that these 24 elders represent the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel, God’s people of the Old Covenant and the 12 Apostles, God’s leaders of the New Covenant.

 [Luke 4:17-19] 17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Jesus teaches His followers

Jesus teaches His followers

Jesus came down the hillside where a large crowd of people from Phoenicia, Galilee and Judea had gathered and were following Jesus, hearing Him speak and many were being healed of diseases.  Then Jesus looked at His disciples and began to speak.

[Luke 6:20-23] 20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

These teachings are called “beatitudes.” They are told by Matthew in Matthew 5:3-11. The term, “beatitude,” means blessed or fortunate. Traditional beliefs of the Jews in Jesus’ time was that blessings come to those who strictly keep the Mosiac Law. Obedience would bring blessings and prosperity and disobedience would bring trials and punishment. Jesus’ teachings were new and strange to His listeners. Generally when we read these teachings we understand that those who are poor financially, those who are sorrowful, those who are persecuted now but true to the Lord will have their blessings in the next life.  But the Kingdom of God is not just in the believer’s future but now in this earthly life. It is hard for us today as Christians to grasp the meaning of the wealthy poor, the happy mourner and the persecuted peacemaker. We don’t want to be poor or to mourn nor be persecuted but this is the life of the servant of God and such a life brings its own blessings. The Kingdom of God is here with us now and we are called to reject the attractions of this world and to seek the ways of God. Jesus promised in verse 23 that those who choose to live this life will be persecuted on earth but have great rewards in heaven.  Then Jesus reminded the Jews that their ancestors persecuted the prophets of God.

The rich man has his rewards

The rich man has his rewards

[Luke 6:24-26] 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

In this passage, Jesus is simply telling the people that those who strive for the wealth and comforts and pleasures of this world have their rewards in this life and there will be no rewards in the Kingdom of God for them.

Luke 6:27-38] 27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Jesus continued with the new lifestyle for His followers. The key verse being verse 31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In John 13:34 Jesus gave a new commandment, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The followers of Christ must be loving, giving forgiving, generous to all men whether they are righteous or sinners. Christians need to stand out, their life should be a witness to the world to the teachings of Christ.  These loving actions should carry over into our business dealings with others. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  In Jesus’ time produce was measured in bulk. Jesus was telling them to give good measure, to be honest in their dealings with others. If they were selling ground grain to shake it down in the container and fill it to the top until it was running over. Those who lived by these principles would be rewarded in heaven.

Can the blind lead the blind

Can the blind lead the blind

[Luke 6:39-45] 39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Jesus is talking here about hypocrisy and judging others. The word “hypocrite” means to act out a part, to appear to be something you are not. The Scribes and Pharisees and the Sadducees made a show of being righteous but they cheated the people, robbed the poor. Jesus said their righteousness was like whitewashed sepulchers (tombs, burring places for the dead). They were clean on the outside but inside they were filled with dead men’s bones.  Jesus said not to judge your brother. We should not accuse someone of sinning when we have secret sin in our own lives. What we do and how we behave is determined by what is in our hearts. “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Don’t be a hypocrite and don’t judge your neighbor.

Build your house on a rock

Build your house on a rock

[Luke 6:46-49] 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Jesus was teaching His disciples to listen to His words, keep them in their hearts, make His teachings the foundation for their lives. If they would do this, then when the trials and tribulations come to them, their faith and beliefs would keep them strong and protected.

There are so many temptations for Christians in our world today. The television, computers, music, all of these medias are filled with temptations to sin. Satan is using every modern means of communication to try to destroy the witness of Christians and the church. We need to build our house, the foundation of our lives on Jesus and if we do that, Satan can’t touch us.

Lessons for us from Luke chapter 6

1.  Our life should reflect the teachings of Christ. The world is always watching.

2.  The Lord calls Christians to do His work. Is the Lord calling you?

3.  We need to build our house on the rock of Jesus Christ.

4.  Follow the commandments of Jesus, love your neighbor as yourself.

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Luke Lesson 5

Scripture for this lesson are taken from Luke 4, Luke 5, Matthew 4, John 1

In Luke chapter 4, Jesus was tested by Satan and refuted all temptations by using Old Covenant scriptures. Jesus then visited His home town of Nazareth in Galilee. In the synagogue on the Sabbath, He read from Isaiah about the coming on the Messiah. When Jesus told the congregation that the scripture had been fulfilled the crowd wanted Him to perform a miracle. When Jesus refused they tried to throw Him over a cliff. Jesus walked through them and went His way.

From Nazareth, Jesus went to Capernaum which was about 20 miles northeast of Nazareth.

Map of Galilee

Map of Galilee

[Luke 4:31-37] 31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice,34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

It was not unusual for a Rabbi to teach on the Sabbath, but the people were amazed at Jesus because He taught with authority. When Jesus was in the synagogue a demon possessed man was there. The demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God and they asked Jesus if He had come to destroy them. There are many instances of demon possession in the New Testament. Some of these appear to be diseases but in this case and several others, the demon or demons recognize Christ as the Son of God. These are demonic spiritual beings that inhabited living beings. Being a part of Satan’s realm they knew who Jesus was. Their power was no match for the power of God.  The people of Capernaum were amazed at Jesus’ power and authority!

Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law

Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law

[Luke 4:38-44] 38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home ofSimon.Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. 40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. 42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

The first question that comes to mind is, did Peter know Jesus already when Jesus came to his house in Capernaum? The answer is, yes, he did.

Jesus calls Peter and Andrew

Jesus calls Peter and Andrew

[Matthew 4:18-22] 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Peter's house in Capernaum

Peter’s house in Capernaum

Peter and Andrew were brothers, James and John were brothers and the sons of Zebedee and they were living in Capernaum and were all in the fishing business together.

This is a picture of the ruins of what they say is Peter’s house in Capernaum. Peter’s mother-in-law was ill with a fever of some sort and they asked Jesus to help her. He drove the fever from her body and she got up and began to serve them which probably means that she prepared food. We have another instance where there were demon possessed people in the crowd and the demons cried out that Jesus was the Son of God, but Jesus would not allow them to speak because it was not time for Him to openly declare that He was the Messiah.  This is the beginning of His ministry and He did not want to create a situation that would bring too much attention to Himself at this time.

The crowds got too great and pressing and Jesus needed solitude and time for prayer and communication with His Father. The people came looking for Him and tried to keep Him there in Capernaum but it was time for Him to move on and share the good news in other towns.

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

[Luke 5:1-3] One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

The Lake of Gennesaret, the Sea of Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee are all the same body of water. Jesus was there on the shore and the people were crowding all around Him, so He got into one of the fishing boats that belonged to Peter. Jesus taught God’s Word to the people from the boat while the fishermen who had had a bad day catching few if any fish were cleaning their nets.

Jesus gives miracle of big catch of fish

Jesus gives miracle of big catch of fish

[Luke 5:4-11]When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of

fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Peter’s reaction to this miracle of such a large catch of fish is interesting. He realized He was in the presence of the Messiah and he knew as a sinful man he had no right to be there. How much did the disciples understand at that time about who Jesus was?

[John 1:35-40] 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

The Apostle John gives us some insight about this.  Andrew and Peter were already followers of John the Baptist. This event followed shortly after Jesus had come to John to be baptized.  John had pointed Jesus out to Andrew stating that Jesus was the Messiah. Andrew immediately went to find Peter and they followed Jesus and spent some time with Him. The Jews were expecting the Messiah to raise a large army, overthrow the Romans and make Israel the great nation it was in the days of David and Solomon.  Comprehending  what the Messiah had come to do and what His ministry would be was a slow and painful process for His followers.

Jesus heals the leper

Jesus heals the leper

[Luke 5:12-15] 12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[b] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

At this time, there was no cure for leprosy and it was very contagious. In Israel, having leprosy made a person ritually unclean. Persons who had the disease were required to wear raggedy, torn clothes so they could be recognized. When someone approached they had to cry out, “Unclean! Unclean!”  There were other skin diseases and if a person recovered they had to go to the priest where he would perform a ritual purification.

The people who were watching must have been horrified when Jesus reached and touched this leper, and then amazed when he was healed. Jesus told him to go to the priest and be cleansed because lepers had to bed isolated.  After going through the cleansing rituals the man’s family and friends would accept him and he could return to his home.  Jesus told the man not to spread it around that Jesus had healed him because the crowds of people who were following Him were increasing and He still had over a year to complete His ministry.luke5JesusHealsParalyzed

[Luke 5:17-26] 17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”2Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Jesus is still in Galilee teaching in the towns there.  This day there were scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem, Judea and Galilee which means they had come from all around Israel. The word had gone out that there was a man doing miracles, teaching with authority, healing the sick and people were saying He was the Messiah. They had come to check Him out.

In verse 17 we are told that the power of the Lord was with Jesus to be able to heal people. I don’t think this is saying that Jesus did not always have the power to heal, I think that Luke is stressing that Jesus had that power. There was a large crowd of people there and Jesus was inside a house. A paralyzed man had friends to bring him to Jesus hoping to be healed, but the crowd was so big that they could not get into the house. Somehow the friends were able to get the man on the roof where they opened a hole and lowered him into the house before Jesus. Jesus was impressed with the faith of the paralyzed man and his friends who had gone to so much effort to get the man before Jesus. Jesus tells the paralyzed man that his sins are forgiven. That is not what he came to Jesus for. He wanted to be able to walk. The crowd was filled with Rabbis and teachers of the law and Jesus knew that they would be offended when He told the man his sins were forgiven. But Jesus gave the man what he needed most.  Eternal life with God is much more important that walking on the earth a few years. The teachers of the law were thinking blasphemy when Jesus told the man his sins were forgiven. Only God can forgive sins and Jesus was saying He was God. But Jesus really was God and He had that authority. Reading their minds, Jesus asked them which was easier, to forgive sins or to heal the man’s paralyzed body and then He told the man to get up and walk. The man got up from his bed and walked home, praising God all the way. The crowd was filled with awe, amazed at what they had seen and the Jewish religious teachers had much to think about.

Jesus calls Levi to follow Him

Jesus calls Levi to follow Him

[Luke 5:27-32] 27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Levi is also called Matthew who wrote the gospel of Matthew. Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector. The tax collectors were collecting taxes for the Romans.  In order to become a tax collector they had to negotiate, like bidding, for the position to collect taxes from a specific area in the Roman Empire.  Any money above what they were required to turn to Rome, they could keep for themselves.  So the tax collectors pressed the people, they were greedy and dishonest and therefore very unpopular.

As Jesus was walking through one of the towns He saw Levi the tax collector at his booth collecting taxes.  Jesus approached the table and told Levi to come with Him and be His follower.  Levi got up and went with Jesus. Jesus looked on his heart  and knew that Matthew would be a good disciple.  The Holy Spirit must have drawn Matthew for him to get up and leave his tax collecting table. That evening Matthew threw a big banquet inviting all his tax collector friends. The Pharisees and religious teachers immediately began to criticize Jesus for associating with sinners and tax collectors.  They considered these people as unclean and law keeping Jews should not associate with them. Jesus, the Messiah came for all men not just the Jews and they could not accept that.

[Luke 5:33-35] 33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” 34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

Now the these religious teachers and leaders are criticizing Jesus because He and His disciples did not stop what they were doing to pray at the set time for the morning and evening oblations. The scribes and Pharisees would stop in the middle of the street or where ever they were and do their prayers just so they could be seen and people would look and say how pious and dedicated to God they were. They did it for show and the praise of men.  Jesus used the example of the marriage custom where the friends were with the bridegroom and he was preparing to go and get his bride. They would not stop during this ritual for the morning or evening prayers. Jesus uses the illustration of the bride and bridegroom often. Jesus is the bridegroom and the church that would be established under the New Covenant is the bride. Jesus’ time on earth was limited and He needed to teach and prepare the people while He was here. When He was gone, they would fast and pray.

Wineskin

Wineskin

[Luke 5:36-39] 36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

Wineskins were made from the skin of a goat with the head and leg openings sewn shut. New wine was always put into a new skin because the fermentation process causes the wine to expand and an old skin would break away while the new skin would stretch. Jesus was using this illustration to make the point that the new revelation, the New Covenant  Jesus was bringing from God was  based on Love and faith and not works and it did not fit into the legalities of the Old Testament beliefs. The Jews with their long history in Old Testament Law would not be comfortable with the new teachings of Jesus, they would prefer the old.

What can we learn from these passages in Luke 4 & 5?

1. Jesus chose these men to be His followers who would establish His church. Jesus still calls followers today to work in His church. We are called to be prayer warriors, teachers, preachers, shepherds, servers. Is Jesus calling you?

2. The forces of Satan are busy on the earth today tempting us to sin, but the power of God that we have through the Holy Spirit is greater than the power of Satan if we have the faith to call on it.

3. Jesus came to reach the lost, not the righteous.  As Christians today we should not be satisfied to stay in the comfort zone of our Christian family but should be out there reaching those who are lost. That is our mission!

4. If we worship the Lord in order to be seen and praised by men, then the praise of men is all we will receive.

5. The New Covenant is based on love, not ritual. All of our worship should be based on love and not habit.

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Luke Lesson 4

Scripture for this lesson are taken from: Luke 4, Genesis 3, John 3, Romans 5, Revelation1, Psalm 91, Exodus 17, Exodus 20, Isaiah 61.

In Lesson 3 we studied about Jesus going to the Temple when He was 12, talking to the scribes about the Old Covenant scriptures.

John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River

John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River

Then when Jesus was grown He went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him visibly in the form of a dove. His baptism was a necessary step for Him as He began His ministry. Jesus was the Son of God in human form. But the Spirit of God came to dwell with Him in a special way to help Him fulfill His mission to be the sacrifice for man’s sin. Now here in Luke chapter 4, Jesus will take another necessary step toward His mission.

[Luke 4:1-2] Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was temptedby the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

We are told here by Luke that the Holy Spirit led Jesus to go into the wilderness area so that He could be tempted by Satan.  Jesus was sinless, so why did He have to be tempted

Jesus was 40 days in the wilderness

Jesus was 40 days in the wilderness

by Satan? The simplest answer is that as humans we are tempted by Satan all the time encouraging us to sin. In order for Jesus to be the sacrifice for the sins of mankind he would have to be tempted and not sin. He had to be the sinless sacrifice.

For a deeper look let’s go to [Genesis 3:4-6] “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Eve is tempted by Satan

Eve is tempted by Satan

Sin interred the world through the first man and his mate. Because of their sin they were driven out of the glorious garden where they had plenty of food growing naturally, no enemies, just a glorious easy life where they could walk with and communicate with God. God does not look upon sin so they and all mankind after them were separated from God.

[John 3:16]   For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

God’s only begotten Son is Jesus Christ who came to earth as a man and suffered and died to save the world.

[Romans 5:18-19] Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.    19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

[Luke 4: 3-4] The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread

Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread

Jesus is quoting a passage from [Deuteronomy 8:2-3]  Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 

This is the first temptation that Luke told us about. Jesus had been praying and fasting for many days and He was hungry.  Why would Satan tempt him to make bread from a stone? Satan made the statement that if Jesus was the Son of God, He could turn the rocks into bread.  This passage from Deuteronomy  8 shows that God humbled and tested the Israelites to see if they would keep His commandments and sent manna from heaven to feed them for the 40 years that they wondered in the wilderness area. So Satan was testing Jesus to try to get Him put His need for food above His desire to follow God’s will. Jesus knew the scriptures and responded to Satan’s testing with this quote that basically says that obeying God is more important than bread to eat. Satan wanted Jesus to make something, anything more important to Him than God.

[Luke 4:5-7]  The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Satan tries to get Jesus to worship him

Satan tries to get Jesus to worship him

Being a King with all the earth under His power and control is what is in the future for the Son of God. But Satan was tempting Jesus by offering Him this power and position without going to the cross and suffering for the sins of all mankind. It was God’s plan and God’s will that His Son would suffer and die and if Satan could convince Jesus to bypass God’s will and take what was His by the power of Satan, then He would have sinned and there would be no redemption for man.

[Revelation 1:4-5] John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

This passage is taken from John’s message to the churches established by Paul in Asia Minor and Greece. John states here that Jesus is the ruler of all the kings of the earth; Satan has been defeated.

[Luke 4:8] Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.

Jesus is quoting: Deuteronomy 6:13: Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

Jesus knows the Old Covenant scriptures and He refutes the devil by using God’s Word.

[Exodus 20:3] “You shall have no other gods before me.”

For Jesus to receive the kingdoms of the earth from Satan, He would have to worship him and that would go against God’s commandment to worship no other gods and would be a sin. This quote comes from the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai by God Himself.

When Jesus refuted Satan twice by using scripture, Satan tried to tempt Him by using scripture.

[Luke 4:9-11] The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

This is a quote from [Psalms 91:11-12] For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

The Israelites were looking for the Messiah to come. John the Baptist had been preaching

Satan tempts to Jump from the top of the temple

Satan tempts to Jump from the top of the temple

to prepare the way, the Messiah is coming. The people believed when the Messiah came, He would raise an army, defeat the Romans and restore Israel to the way it was under King David. They were not looking for a suffering servant Messiah. Satan took Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem and quoted scripture that promised  that the angels would protect the Messiah from harm. He was tempting Jesus to jump of the high point in the temple and cause many angels to appear and assist Him.  There were always many people around and in the temple praying and worshiping, visiting.  These people would see how the angels would save Jesus when He jumped and they would believe that He was the Messiah. The people would accept Him and make Him King. He could become king by being popular with the people rather than dying on the cross.

[Luke 4:12-13] Jesus answered, “It says: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Jesus was referring to a passage in Exodus when the Israelites had left Egypt, arrived at Rephidim and there was no water. Remember there were over 2,000,000 people plus their livestock that needed water.

[Exodus 17:5-7] The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massahand Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

The people here At Rephidim were questioning Moses whether God was with them or not. If He was there with them, there would be water. They were challenging God, testing God to prove that He was there. Satan was trying to get Jesus to challenge God by jumping off the temple in front of the people so that God would send His angels to save Jesus and the people would all see. Jesus refused to test God, He had absolute faith  in God and chose to take the path that His Father had chosen for Him. Jesus once again refuted Satan with scripture.

Being tested by Satan, having to draw upon the Holy Spirit within Him, and His knowledge of God’s word, strengthened Jesus and helped to prepare Him for what He would face when He began His ministry to show the Israelites that their long awaited Messiah had come and to establish God’s New Covenant with His people.

[Luke 4:14-17] 14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus goes home to Galilee to begin His public ministry. Along the way, Jesus visited in the synagogues and taught the people the meaning of the scriptures, and they praised Him for His teachings. When He arrived home in Nazareth, He again went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day as was a custom for the men to do, He stood up to read from the scriptures. He was handed the scroll of Isaiah and He found a particular scripture and began to read:

Jesus reads from the Isaiah scroll in Nazareth

Jesus reads from the Isaiah scroll in Nazareth

[Isaiah 61:1-2a] “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the blind, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

This passage in Isaiah is about the Messiah. He would be filled with the Spirit of God, would proclaim the news that the Messiah had come, He would bring freedom to those who were captives (prisoners of sin), bring sight to the blind and proclaim that the Messiah had come.

[Luke 4:20-21] 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Get the picture here, Jesus had stood on the Sabbath in the Synagogue in Nazareth, His home town, He read from the Isaiah scroll, then He carefully rerolled the scroll, handed it back and quietly sat down. The He said to them very plainly that this scripture in Isaiah had been fullfilled.

[Luke 4:22-27] 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

This passage tells us that Jesus had been in Capernaum before He went to Nazareth and had healed people there. The people in Nazerath are asking Jesus to perform miracles like He did in Capernaum. But Jesus can see into their hearts and He knows that they are thinking He is Joseph the carpenter’s son, He grew up here, lets see Him do some miracles. But they had no faith. So Jesus referd to the prophets Elijah and Elisha who were able to raise people from the dead, but they did no miracles in their home towns. Jesus was saying clearly that He would perform no miracles there.

[Luke 4:28-30] 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when theyLuke4JesusWalksThroughCrowd heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

The people were so angry because Jesus would not do any miracles that they tried to push Him off a cliff. They tried to kill Jesus there in Nazareth. But they could not touch Him. He just turned and walked through crowd and left.

Lesson for us from Luke chapter 4:

1.  Knowing the scriptures is necessary for a Christian to live their life obeying God.

2.  It is more important to obey God than to satisfy the needs of the flesh.

3.  Trusting God to take care of our needs is evidence of our faith.

4.  Doing things God’s way can prevent a lot of problems in our future.

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btn100x100luke3Luke [Lesson 3]

Scriptures for this lesson are taken from Luke 2, Luke 3, Matthew 3.

In lesson 2 we studied about the birth of Jesus, His birth announced by the angel and the shepherds visit to the manger in Bethlehem to worship Him. When He was taken to the temple to be circumcised and named, Simeon and Anna, who were very old were there to see the Messiah before they died. Then the scripture tells us that Jesus grew up in the Galilean town of Nazareth.

Jesus talking to the Scribes in the temple

Jesus talking to the Scribes in the temple

[Luke 2:41-50] 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s  house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

This is a very interesting passage. First, you wonder why parents of a 12 year old boy

Road from Jerusalem to Nazareth

Road from Jerusalem to Nazareth

would not miss him for a whole day. There were many thousands of people who would flood into Jerusalem from all over that part of the world for Passover. The roads were very crowded with people on foot, some riding donkeys or camels or in carts. Jesus’s family would have been heading north from Jerusalem going back to Nazareth. The distance is about 100 miles so it would take several days to make the trip. As children will, I am sure that the older kids, especially boys  would get together with cousins and friends and walk and play along as they traveled. When they stopped for the night the families would get together for their evening meal and to rest and sleep. This would have been the time when they realized that Jesus was missing. Mary and Joseph must have been very worried and frustrated to have to go back to Jerusalem after traveling a whole day, probably 10 or 15 miles on their journey.  It took them three days searching in the city before they found him in the temple. This passage gives us a good picture of Jesus as a man and as God. He was a human person who started as a tiny baby. At this stage he was old enough to begin to understand what His purpose was, His ministry, that He was the son of God. The Spirit of God was inside Him guiding and teaching Him as He grew into manhood.

[Luke 2:51-52] Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Mary kept storing away in her mind all the things that Jesus did and the things that people told her about Jesus from the time He was born and the angels announced His birth. Through the years that Jesus was growing up, Mary and Joseph must have seen that He was different from their other children. I am sure that Mary never heard, “don’t look at me, I didn’t do it,” from Jesus. There must have been much more than is told in the gospels.  It makes you wonder how much Mary really understood. I am sure she did not understand that Jesus would die on a cross. As Jesus grew up, he was filled with wisdom and was liked by men and He pleased God in His daily life.

[Luke 3:1-2]  In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

In these first two verses, Luke names the rulers in power and their areas of authority in

Territory of the Herods

Territory of the Herods

and around the Holy Land. Tiberius Caesar was the ruler of the Roman Empire. The date is 26-28 AD. When Herod the Great died, his kingdom was divided among his four sons; Herod Antipas, Phillip, Archaleus and Lysanias. Archaleus died and his territory was given to Pontius Pilate who governed Judea and Samaria. Phillip governed Iturea and Trachonitus, Lysanius governed Abilene and Herod Antipas governed Galilee and Perea. These men were the Roman rulers when John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries.

Annas and Caiaphas are both listed as High Priests by Luke. Annas was the man of power. He was first appointed as High Priest by the Roman governor in 7 AD and later removed. But his 4 sons and his son-in-law Caiaphas held the office after him. However, Annas was in control.  The High Priest was the head of the Sanhedrin which was the ruling body of the Jews. As long as there was no trouble,Rome allowed them to rule, except they could not sentence anyone to death.

[Luke 3:3-9] He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, prepare the way for the Lord, 

John preaching and baptizing the people

John preaching and baptizing the people

make straight paths for him Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.” John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

John’s message for Israel was “Repent and be baptized so your sins can be forgiven. Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. If you were a Jew at that time, these would be strange words for you. When a gentile wanted to profess the Jewish faith, they had to be circumcised if male, offer sacrifice to show repentance and dedication to God, be baptized for cleansing.  But Jews were born sons of Abraham and considered themselves righteous because of their lineage.  For John to say a Jew had to be baptized was something new for them. All men have sinned, all must repent of their sins, and all must be forgiven.

Remember, at that time the Old Covenant law was still in effect. John’s baptism symbolized cleansing. The ordinances of the New Covenant had not been established yet. As prophesied by Isaiah, John was the voice calling in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Messiah, make the roads straight and smooth. It was the custom in that time to prepare the road if a king or high official was coming to town. They would clear the rocks out of the road and straighten it so their entry would be easy. John is saying, “your king is coming, prepare the road.”

Crowds came to John to be baptized. He called them vipers, snakes. Their coming for baptism was like a snake running from a fire, but it was still a snake. By being baptized they were trying to prevent judgment but they had no change of heart.

[Luke 3:10-14] 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

So they are asking what they should do to prevent judgment if baptism was not enough.  John’s answer was to share what they had, give to those in need and be fair in dealing with others. In other words, “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. They needed a change of heart.

[Luke 3:15-18]  15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

Winnowing floor seperating the wheat from the chaf

Winnowing floor seperating the wheat from the chaf

John was very humble acknowledging that Jesus was much greater than he. John baptized with earthly water to symbolize cleansing by God, but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit which would actually cleanse men’s souls. Jesus was both Savior and judge. He would baptize with the Holy Spirit for salvation and with fire for judgment that would come for all who do not believe in Him.

Verse 17 is a picture of judgment. It illustrates a threshing floor. The wheat would be smashed and thrown in the air, the chaff would blow away and the wheat seeds would fall to the floor. The wheat was stored away and the chaff was burned. The wheat represents the righteous and the chaff the unrighteous doomed for judgment.

[Luke 3:19-20] 19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

Herod Antipas imprisoned John the Baptist at a place believed to be Machaerus. John had been speaking against Herod Antipas because he had married his brother, Phillip’s

John the baptist in prison

John the baptist in prison

wife, Herodias, who was also his niece. John publicly criticized Herod and Herodias because Leviratical law forbad a man to marry his brother’s wife unless it was a Levirate marriage for the purpose of raising a son in the dead brother’s name. So, Herod had John put in prison to shut him up.

Now we come to the baptism of Jesus. We will look at the scriptures provided by Matthew and by Luke.

[Matthew 3:13-17] Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this in fulfill all righteousness,” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

[Luke 3:21-22] When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “you are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River

John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River

John was reluctant to baptize Jesus. He felt that Jesus needed to baptize him. John’s baptism was Old Covenant that represented cleansing for sin but Jesus had no sin. So the question is, why did Jesus need to be baptized? He said it was to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus was about to begin His public ministry and His baptism was related to His mission as prophet, Great High Priest and King. According to the law regarding priests, when they were about 30 years old they had to be consecrated before they could begin to serve as a priest. In order to be consecrated, they first had to be washed or baptized and then anointed. So Jesus was fulfilling the Levitical Law for priests and He now serves as our Great High Priest who shed His own blood as the sacrifice for our sins and He offers our prayers to God the Father.  Under the New Covenant, Jesus’ baptism is an example and an ordinance of what we are supposed to do as Christians. Our baptism is an out ward witness to others that we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

Following his description of Jesus’s baptism,  Luke gives Jesus’ genealogy showing that He was a descendant of King David from the line of Judah which is a fulfillment of Old Covenant prophecy for the Messiah. Luke has shown that Jesus followed the Old Covenant Law to be a priest and His genealogy fulfills the Law to be the Messiah.

The genealogy that Luke gives differs from the one told by Matthew in that Luke shows the lineage from Joseph to God and Matthew show it from Abraham to Joseph.  Both genealogies show that Jesus descended from David and the line of Judah, but Matthew shows that Jesus descended through Solomon the son of David and Luke shows Nathan the son of David. There are varying views about these differences. The simplest and most likely view is that Matthew gives the line of Joseph and Luke gives the line of Mary, Jesus’ mother.

Lessons for us from Luke chapter 3:

1.  Being baptized and joining a church in not a ticket into heaven. Salvation requires repentance and a change of heart.

2.  John the Baptist’s ministry was to prepare the hearts of the people of Israel for the coming of their Messiah.  It is our ministry today to reach out to the lost and prepare the people for Jesus’ coming again.

3.  Christians who have a changed heart will care about the lost, minister to those less fortunate and treat everyone fairly.

In our next lesson we will study Jesus being tempted by Satan.

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btn100x100luke02Luke [Lesson 2]

Scriptures for this lesson are taken from Luke 2, Matthew 1, Isaiah 7.

Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector to follow Him

Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector to follow Him

In Lesson 1 we studied about preparation. God prepared Zechariah and Elizabeth for the birth of their son, John, who would be the last of the Old Covenant prophets and the forerunner of the Messiah. He prepared Mary for the conception and birth of Jesus who was the Messiah. Then John the Baptist was born. In lesson 2 we will begin with God preparing Joseph who was Mary’s betrothed, to accept that Mary was a virgin and would give birth to the Messiah. This passage is told in Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector from Capernaum who collected taxes for the Romans. He was called to be an Apostle by Jesus.

The angel appears to Joseph in a dream

The angel appears to Joseph in a dream

[Matthew 1:18-25] 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

We learn from this passage that when Joseph and Mary were engaged but not living together yet, Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. As we learned in last week’s lesson, according to the law, Mary should have been stoned to death. But Joseph cared about Mary and did not want to disgrace her and ruin her life, so his plan was to divorce her as quietly as possible. Before he could do this, an angel came to him in a dream. Most likely this was, Gabriel, who had appeared to Elizabeth and to Mary. The angel assured Joseph that Mary had not been with another man but had conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and that Joseph should take her as his wife. The child that she carried would be the long awaited Messiah as foretold by the prophet, Isaiah.

[Isaiah 7:14] Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Jesus was to be called Immanuel; He was called Jesus and the Christ. Immanuel means God with us. Jesus is Greek for the Hebrew Joshua which means, Deliverer. Christ is Greek for the Hebrew, Messiah. So, we have, God with us as our deliverer.  All three of these names describe who Jesus was and what His ministry was. God came to earth as a man in order to deliverer us from our sins.

Matthew also told us here, that Joseph was from the tribe of Judah and was a descendant of King David. This was God’s covenant with David that his kingdom would last forever as given in 2 Samuel 7:16. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. Jesus fulfilled this covenant.

[Luke 2:1-3]  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

The Holy Land in Jesus' time

The Holy Land in Jesus’ time

Ceasar Augustus was the first Roman emperor after the Roman Republic was destroyed by the dictatorship of Julius Caesar. Following the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC, the Jews in Jerusalem rebelled against Rome in reaction to the execution of the Scribes Judas and Matthias. Roman troops came into Jerusalem and massacred much ot the local population. Herod’s heir who had taken control of Israel after his death was then banished to Gaul and Judea and Samaria were incorporated into the Province of Syria. At that time, Caesar Augustus, as ruler of the Roman Empire needed a census to bring in taxes for his newly formed empire.  Quirinius was the Governor of Syria, Samaria and Judea and he was responsible for the registration in that area.

[Luke 2:4-7] So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them in the inn.                                                                            

Joseph takes Mary with him to Bethlehem to register for the tax

Joseph takes Mary with him to Bethlehem to register for the tax

Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth but they had to go to Bethlehem to register for the Roman tax.  In Israel the Jews were to register according to their lineage. Since Joseph descended from King David who was from the tribe of Judah, and David’s home was Bethlehem, Joseph had to go to Bethlehem which was about 75 miles from Nazareth. This was a very long journey for a woman who was 9 months pregnant. Can you imagine being 9 months pregnant, riding nearly 100 miles on the back of a donkey? But Joseph chose to take Mary with him and not leave her at home. I believe that decision was God’s will considering the danger that lay ahead for the baby Jesus.

An angel appeared to the shepherds

An angel appeared to the shepherds

[Luke 2:8-14] And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”               

A Heavenly Host appeared to the shepherds

A Heavenly Host appeared to the shepherds

An Angel of the Lord, probably, Gabriel, had come to announce to Israel that the long awaited Messiah had been born and was lying a manger in Bethlehem. The greatest news for all time was not given to a king but to lowly shepherds living in the fields with their sheep. The announcement of the angel was followed by a host of Heavenly beings who had come to praise God and the tiny infant who was God on earth with men.

[Luke 2:15-20] 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Shepherds find Jesus in Bethlehem

Shepherds find Jesus in Bethlehem

The shepherds found Jesus with His parents and they spread the word telling what the angel said to them about Jesus. Mary listened as the shepherds told of the angel who had come down from Heaven to tell them that the Messiah had been born. Can you imagine how excited they were when they described the Heavenly Host that appeared to them? Mary pondered,  wondered about all the things the shepherds told them. The shepherds returned to their flocks telling everyone they saw on the way, praising  and glorifying God.

[Luke 2:21-24] 21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. 22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”                                                                                                                     

Jesus at the temple 8 days old

Jesus at the temple 8 days old

A child was not considered to be a living person until it had lived seven days. Seven is the number for completeness and there was a very high mortality rate for infants when they were first born in those early times. On the eighth day a child was named and male babies were taken to the temple to be circumcised so that they could be a part of the covenant family of God. Also, the mother was considered unclean because of her flow of blood following childbirth. If she had a male child she could enter the temple and go through a cleansing ceremony on the eight day, if it was a female child she had to wait two weeks. In verse 23, we have reference to the firstborn male. Since Jesus was Mary and Joseph’s firstborn, according to the Law, He belonged to God and had to be redeemed with money when He was 30 days old. This law came about from Israel’s firstborn being saved from the death angel in Egypt before the exodus.

 [Luke 2:27-35] 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Simeon sees Jesus in the temple

Simeon sees Jesus in the temple

Simeon was an old man who had the Holy Spirit with him and had promised him that he would see the Messiah before he died.  He was guided into the temple by the Holy Spirit at the time that Mary and Joseph brought Jesus in for the temple rituals and Simeon knew that this was the Messiah. He praised God and prophesied that this child would be a light to the gentiles, meaning that the gentiles would come to know God through this child. Jesus would be the glory of Israel. Mary and Joseph again marveled, were amazed at what was said about their tiny baby.  Even though they knew that Jesus was conceived through the power of God, they did not fully understand what it all meant.  “The falling and rising of many in Israel” referred to the Jewish religious leaders who would reject Jesus but some would accept Him as the Messiah and bring salvation to the gentiles. Buy Mary’s own soul would be pierced when she watched her son die on the cross. I am sure she remembered Simeon’s words as she stood on Golgotha the day Jesus was  crucified.

Anna sees the Messiah in the temple

Anna sees the Messiah in the temple

[Luke 2:36-38] 36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.                                                                           

The scripture tells us that Anna was an eighty-four year old woman who had been a widow for fifty years. She stayed at the temple all the time fasting, praying and worshiping God day and night. Can you imagine? She was very close to God and recognized the Messiah and gave thanks to God for His coming.

[Luke 2:39-40] 39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

We know very little about Jesus’ early life, but Luke tells us here that Mary and Joseph went back to their home in Nazareth and Jesus grew up there. However, Matthew, in his gospel tells that when the wise men from the east came looking for the newborn king of the Jews, they went to Herod the Great looking for a king’s son. Herod then had all the baby boys in Bethlehem killed that were two years old and under, trying to get Jesus killed. God, however, had warned Joseph to take his family to Egypt which he did until the death of Herod.

The long awaited Messiah is born from the tribe of Judah as prophesied.

Jesus in the Manger

Jesus in the Manger

Lessons for us from Luke chapter 2

1. God sent His only son to save us from our sins

2. We need to share the good news!

3. We need to be obedient to God’s word

4. Like Simeon and Anna, we need to be patient and wait for God to answer

5. Study God’s word and follow His leadership

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btn100x100luke1Luke [Lesson 1]

Scriptures for this lesson are taken from Luke 1, Luke 3, Malachi 3 & 4, Matthew 11.

It is my intention to present a combined study of the gospel of Luke and the gospel of John. The word “gospel” means, god message, a message about god, the good news about Jesus Christ, the son of God. We will focus on Luke and use scriptures from John that are not covered in Luke.

Luke, who wrote the third gospel and the book of Acts, was known as, our dear friend the doctor, Col 4:14. He was a companion and fellow worker with Paul.  He joined Pauls’ missionary team at Troas, in Asia Minor, during the second missionary journey. Both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were written by Luke and addressed to a man he called, Theophilus, which means lover of God in Greek. There is no biblical information about Theophilus, but since Luke addressed him as, The Most Excellent Theophilus, it is likely that he was a Roman official who had accepted Christ and wanted more information about Him.

The gospel of Luke is the longest of the four gospels and was written primarily for Greeks. Luke focuses on Jesus’ humanity and divinity. He was the son of God and the son of man. Luke’s genealogy of Jesus is traced to Adam and four gentile women are included.  In Luke’s gospel, we are given some details of Jesus’ boyhood that are not told in the other gospels.  Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ parables shows evidence of a trained physician’s observations.  The date for the writing of this gospel is about 60 AD, approximately 30 years after the crucifixion.

Ruins of the City of Troas

Ruins of the City of Troas

These are ruins of the city of Troas which is on the coast of Asia Minor by the Aegean Sea. It was named for the ancient city of Troy which lay a few miles north of Troas. Macedonia lies a few miles to the west across the sea.

[Luke 1:1-4]  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. 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.

Luke told here, that he received his information from eyewitnesses, most likely the disciples who traveled with Jesus during His ministries in southern and northern Israel.  His goal was to write an orderly account which included the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, the birth of Christ, His early years, His ministry, crucifixion and resurrection.

Zechariah burns incense in the temple

Zechariah burns incense in the temple

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. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years. 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. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Herod I, also called Herod the Great. He ruled over Israel from 37 BC until he died in 4 BC.

Zechariah was a priest in the order of Abijah and it was his time to serve in the temple.  Both Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron.  At that time they were both of an advanced age and they had no children.Aaron was the older brother of Moses and was the first High Priest of Israel. The office of High Priest was passed down through the sons of Aaron.  Eleazar was one of Aaron’s sons and King David divided the sons of Eleazar into 24 courses or groups that constituted the priesthood of Israel.

Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah

Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah

[Luke 1:11-17] 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 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. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 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. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 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.”

It is obvious that Zechariah and Elizabeth had been praying for a long time to have a child, but Elizabeth was past the age where women could have children, yet the angel promised that they would have a son.  This child would be very special.  He would be a Nazirite from birth, meaning that he would be set aside, dedicated to God, he would not drink any fermented drink and would be filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born. This child would be special to God, born with a Holy purpose.  He would be the forerunner of the Messiah.  He would fulfill the prophecy of Malachi that the prophet Elijah would come back to prepare the way for the Messiah.  The angel was preparing Zechariah and Elizabeth to understand that their son was going to play a very important role in the salvation of Israel and all mankind. John’s message would be, “prepare ye the way.”

[Malachi 3:1]  “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me_____”                                                                                                   

Prophet Elijah

Prophet Elijah

[Malachi 4:5-6]“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

 The angel has told Zechariah that his promised son would be the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy and the one who would announce the coming of the Messiah. Jesus Himself verified this in Matthew 11:13-15. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear. John the Baptist was indeed a prophet; he was the last of the Old Covenant prophets sent by God to give His message to the people. “Prepare ye the way.”

 [Luke 1: 18-25]18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 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. 20 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.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 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. 23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.

Zechariah apparently did not believe the angel who was then identified as the angel, Gabriel, and was struck dumb, unable to speak until after John was born.  When his time of service in the temple was up, he went home to the hill country of Judea, possibly to the city of Hebron. Elizabeth became pregnant but she stayed at home away from people.  Remember, she was old for a woman to be having a child and in that time it was shameful for a woman not be able to conceive.  The more children they had the more they were blessed by God and those who had none were considered to be punished for some sin.

Angel Gabriel appears to Mary

Angel Gabriel appears to Mary

[Luke 1:26-33] 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Mary is a virgin but she is engaged to Joseph. In those days, a couple would be engaged sometimes for a year or two but the engagement was more like marriage.  They were legally bound to each other but did not live together as man and wife. The angel Gabriel appeared again, this time to Mary and he explained to her that she would become pregnant and the child would be the long awaited Messiah, the Son of God who would rule over Israel forever and ever.

[Luke 1:34-38] 35 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. 36 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. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

The angel, Gabriel, was sent by God to prepare Mary to be the mother of the Messiah. Mary did not question the angel but accepted his message as God’s will.  It was the desire of all Jewish women to be chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, so Mary was filled with joy.  However, the penalty for an unmarried woman to have a child  was a to be stoned to death. Mary  would have had some deep concern about how her family and especially her husband to be, Joseph, would accept this situation.  The angel, Gabriel, told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth who was too old to have a child, was now six months pregnant.

[Luke 1:39-45]39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in

Mary visits Elizabeth

Mary visits Elizabeth

the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary was in Nazareth and Elizabeth was in the hill country south of Jerusalem which was a distance of about 70 to 90 miles.  When Mary came into Elizabeth’s presence, the child in Elizabeth’s womb jumped as the spirit of God already within him recognized the presence of God living in Mary’s womb. Can you imagine what these two women felt as they realized that the very power of God was living and moving inside their bodies?

As Mary is visiting with Elizabeth she began to prophesy. These next verses are called “Mary’s Magnificat.”It means “my soul magnifies” in Latin. It is also called the “Song of Mary.”

[Luke 1:46-56] 46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their throne
 but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Mary’s words in her song give us some understanding of what her feelings were. She felt blessed by God and very humble to be chosen of all Jewish women to be the mother of the Messiah. She acknowledged the power of God, His control of the nations, His magnificent and powerful deeds. She also acknowledged God’s mercy and His watch care over His people Israel. Elizabeth was six months pregnant when Mary came and Mary stayed for three months, so it was time for John the Baptist to be born when Mary left and went back to Nazareth.  Jesus would be born in six more months.

[Luke 1:57-66] 57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave

John the Baptist is born

John the Baptist is born

birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah,60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

It was the custom to name a child on the 8th day of its life. If the child was a son, then he was circumcised also. Circumcision was necessary for Jews to become part of the covenant family of Abraham. Infant mortality was very high in those days, so they did not consider that a child would live until it had stayed alive for 7 days. It was also their custom for a child to be named after a family member, so the family and friends expected the child to be named Zechariah.  Remember, Zechariah still could not talk at that time, so Mary said that he would be called John. They wanted to hear it from Zechariah who then wrote on a tablet, “he is to be called John.” The name “John” in Hebrew means, “Blessed by God.” The people around them realized that this would be a special child. Immediately then, Zechariah was able to speak.

[Luke 1:67-80] 67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant,73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.76 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, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness  and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

John calls the people to repent

John calls the people to repent

When his son, John, was circumcised and named and he was able to talk again, then Zechariah began to prophecy. This passage is called” Zechariah’s Benedictus”, or the “Song of Zechariah.” In his song, Zechariah praised God for the coming of the Messiah who would be the horn of salvation for Israel. Horn denoted power. The Messiah would be the power of salvation. He praised and thanked God for His forgiving mercies and protection.  Zechariah began next to sing praises for his son and the work he would do. John would be a prophet of God and tell the people that they must repent and turn back to God because the Messiah was coming and they must be prepared

[Luke 3:3-6] He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.”’

Lessons we can learn from Luke 1

Be Prepared!!

1. “The Word of God will never fail. Luke 1:37.

2. We see more prophesies from Daniel’s Prophecy of the 70 Weeks fulfilled. The Messiah was coming.

3. The angel, Gabriel came to prepare Mary for the birth of the Messiah.

4. Gabriel came to prepare Zechariah and Elizabeth for the birth of their son who would be a prophet of God.

5. John’s mission was to prepare Israel for the coming of their Messiah.

6. The Messiah has come and for us to be prepared for eternal life, we must accept Him as our Savior.

7. Be prepared. If you have not already, trust in Jesus today, you may not have a tomorrow.

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