The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Luke 1

Luk 1:1

Luke's gospel presents Christ the man: the friend of publicans and sinners (Luk 5:29; 7:29; etc), going beyond national ties (Luk 6:6; 10:30). Special notice of women throughout. Only gospel addressed to one man (Luk 1:3). Most artistic of the 4 gospels.

Luke portrays Christ as the man of constant prayer: Luk 3:21 (baptism); Luk 5:16 (in withdrawal and seclusion); Luk 6:12 (all night in prayer); Luk 9:18 (in private); Luk 9:29 (Transfiguration); Luk 11:1 ("Teach us to pray"); Luk 18:1-14 (the parable of importunate widow); Luk 22:32 (prayer for Simon); Luk 22:41-45 (in Gethsemane); Luk 23:34,46 (at crucifixion).

...And the man of universal compassion: Luk 7:11-16 (the miracle of life for the bereft widow); Luk 7:37-50 (forgiveness for the sinful woman); Luk 13:11-17 (release for the despondent cripple); Luk 17:11-19 (cleansing for the despised alien); Luk 19:1-10 (approval for the social outcast); Luk 22:50,51 (care for the smitten enemy); Luk 23:39-43 (hope for the penitent thief).

MANY: Implying need for a sound history. "The gospels written by Mark and Luke have a place in the NT, although the authors were not apostles; yet the writings of the 'many who took in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us', to whom Luke refers, are not in the NT. What governed the inclusion of some and the exclusion of others? The answer is to be found in the belief the Jews entertained that the 'collection of the sacred books was defined under Divine guidance, and closed at the Divine command.' The proof is in the pages of the Bible" (Orac 65).

Luk 1:2

FROM THE FIRST: A criteria of apostleship: being with Jesus from the "beginning": Act 1:21; 1Co 15:5,8; Joh 15:27; 1Jo 2:13.

EYEWITNESSES... OF THE WORD: The "word" is a title of Jesus Christ (cp Heb 4:12,13; Act 20:32; 1Pe 1:23; Rev 6:9; Joh 1:1, etc; cp //s between Luk 1:1-4 and 1Jo 1:1-3).

EYEWITNESSES: Gr "autoptes": lit, self-seeing. Related to Engl "autopsy": an examination for oneself of a dead body, for causes of death! "Greek medical writers often had the word" (RWP).

Why this word here? Because, whether at the beginning of his ministry or even after his resurrection, the living Jesus WAS a dead body! In "life" he was "dead" already. After his resurrection the emblems of his death were still visible! He was a man who was born to die, who lived a "death" to the flesh, and who -- even now -- is the Lamb who had been slain (Rev 13:8)! And those who deny him are spoken of as crucifying him yet again (Heb 6:6; 10:29).

Luk 1:3

CAREFULLY INVESTIGATED EVERYTHING: The presence of Holy Spirit does not remove need for effort and reason.

"The words 'having had perfect understanding' [AV] are, literally, 'having closely traced.' The verb means 'to follow along a thing in the mind.' The word was used for the investigation of symptoms. Thus it speaks of a careful investigation of all sources, oral and written, which purport to be accounts of our Lord's life.

"Luke had the historian's mind, a thing native to the educated Greek. Herodotus, the father of Greek history, exhibited the Greek determination to get at the truth no matter how much work it required, when he travelled to central Africa to verify the account of the annual rise and fall of the Nile River. In those days this was a long and difficult journey... Thus we have no doubt but that Luke made a personal investigation of all the facts he had recorded. He interviewed every witness, visited every locality. If Mary was still alive, he, a doctor of medicine, investigated the story of the virgin birth by hearing it from Mary's own lips" (Wuest).

FROM THE BEGINNING: "Anothen" (sw Joh 3:31; 19:11; Jam 1:17; 3:17). Did he mean that he had been in contact with Jesus from the earliest days? Or did he mean that his information came from the highest authorities (eg Luk 1; 2 from Mary herself)? Or was he claiming direct guidance and inspiration from heaven, ie from above?

AN ORDERLY ACCOUNT: Not necessarily chronological, but certainly detailed and accurate and factual.

MOST EXCELLENT: Related to rank and authority: Act 23:26; 24;3; 26:25; cp Joh 20:31.

Luk 1:4

CERTAINTY: Lit "security".

THINGS YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT: Gr word is related to English "catechism", impl questions and answers, and constant repetition: ie Gal 6:6; Rom 2:18; Act 18:25; 21:21,24. Cp Pro 22:20,21.

Luk 1:5

HEROD: An Idumean, or Edomite: the first Gentile on the throne of Judah.

ZECHARIAH: Note that the OT prophecy of Zech is followed by that of Mal, which prophesies of John the Baptist.

ABIJAH: The eighth of the 24 courses; fittingly, eight is the numerical symbol of the cutting off of the flesh (the eighth day being the day for circumcision) and a new beginning (the eighth day also being the first day of a new week).

Luk 1:6

Very enthusiastic praise from Luke. Cp God's words to childless Abraham: Gen 17:1.

Luk 1:7

BARREN: As Sarah (Isaac), Hannah (Samuel), wife of Manoah (Samson).


Luk 1:8

So many priests in this time that lots were drawn, and this is prob a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! (Some say there were then 20,000 priests: WGos 9.)

Luk 1:9

INCENSE: Psa 141:2.

Luk 1:10

ALL THE ASSEMBLED...: "The whole multitude" (KJV) implies one of the great feast days. Poss Pentecost: the course of Abijah was on duty at that time of year (WGos 10).

PRAYING: Symbolized by the incense.

Luk 1:11

RIGHT SIDE: Side of blessing (Gen 48:11; ct Eze 4:4) and acceptance (Mat 25:31; Rev 5:7; 10:1).

Luk 1:12

This was the least likely place on earth to find a stranger. Cp Amos' vision -- an angel at the altar with woeful judgment (Amo 9:1-10).

Luk 1:13

DO NOT BE AFRAID: Cp Luk 1:30; Mat 28:5; Luk 2:10; Rev 1:17.

YOUR PRAYER HAS BEEN HEARD: For son, AND for Messiah? How awesome it is that the God of all creation makes His own mighty purpose dependent upon the prayers of His people!

JOHN: Sig "the gift or grace of Yahweh".

Luk 1:14

HE WILL BE A JOY AND DELIGHT TO YOU, AND MANY WILL REJOICE BECAUSE OF HIS BIRTH: The joy and gladness for this woman who has conceived in her old age -- a reference back to Sarah, who laughed (Gen 21:6), so that all who hear shall laugh with her? See also Pro 23:24.

Luk 1:15

HE WILL BE GREAT: Cp Mat 11:11: none greater than John the Baptist.

FROM BIRTH: Or "from his mother's womb" (mg): cp Isa 49:1; Psa 22:9,10.

Luk 1:20

SILENT AND NOT ABLE TO SPEAK: Zechariah's affliction of dumbness was more than the rebuke for a momentary lapse. It was a marvelous symbol of the end of an age. Zechariah could not pronounce the required blessing upon the waiting multitude, and from that day forward the priesthood of which he was a member could no longer mediate true blessings upon the nation. The end was in sight, a greater priest of a greater order was soon to appear, and the whole Mosaic system -- having waxed old -- was now almost ready to vanish away (Heb 8:13). Even Zechariah's son, as he grew to manhood, would disdain the duties of a priest and go out into the wilderness, as though to watch and wait for the Lord, who would come not OUT OF the temple, but TO the Temple (Mal 3:1). "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached" (Luk 16:16). The law was holy and just and good; it had been given by angels to Moses, but its purpose was now fulfilled. Grace and truth would come by another (Joh 1:17). Zechariah's son would go out into the desert of Judea to meet him.

SILENT: Poss also deaf (cp Luk 1:62).

Luk 1:21

WHY HE STAYED SO LONG: Priests were instructed to be expeditious in their service in the Holy Place.

Luk 1:22

HE COULD NOT SPEAK TO THEM: This day the priest was unable to impart God's blessing in the Law's required manner. See Luk 16:16.

Luk 1:24

SECLUSION: Separating herself from all ordinary social contact, perhaps by remaining and working in the Temple (cp Luk 2:36).

Luk 1:25

TAKEN AWAY MY DISGRACE: The words of Rachel in Gen 30:23.

Luk 1:26

Luk 1:26-38: The story of the conception and birth of Christ might be appreciated in the light of Psa 139: "For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well, my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" (Psa 139:13-17, RSV).

The phrases" knit together" and "intricately wrought" are the same words used of the woven pattern on the veil of the Tabernacle, and the embroidery of the door hangings, the coat of the High Priest, and the veil of the Most Holy (Exo 26:31,36; 27:16; 28:39; 36:37; 38:18; 39:29; cp Heb 10:20).

Christ is the true tabernacle, or temple of God (Mat 12:6; John 1:14; 2:19; Col 2:9; Heb 8:2; 9:7,8,11). Even as the fabrics were specially selected, and specially worked, until the desired effect was achieved in the curtains and furnishings and priestly garments of tabernacle and temple -- so that God Himself might be exalted, and eternal principles taught in figurative language -- so out of the "fabric" of human nature, the Master Craftsman skillfully selected and wove together... the perfect "tabernacle", the perfect "temple" -- His Son!

Modern science has begun to penetrate into the mysteries of DNA, the genetic code imprinted on the human chromosome, and to see -- as through a glass darkly -- the building blocks of human life. Surely we may stand in awe at the amazing complexity, and the supreme design, in such a system. And especially may we be brought to our knees in admiration -- for the intricate "design" that became God's Only-begotten Son. "Fearfully and wonderfully made" indeed!

GABRIEL: "The angel of answered prayer" (WGos 10,718): see Dan 8:15,16; 9:21-23; Luk 1:13,19).

Luk 1:28

YOU WHO ARE HIGHLY FAVORED: KJV has: "Blessed art thou among women", as in v 42.

THE LORD IS WITH YOU: Blessing of the Lord of the harvest: Psa 129:7,8; Jdg 6:12; 2Th 3:16.

Luk 1:29

WHAT KIND OF GREETING THIS MIGHT BE: Was it mere flattery, after eastern custom, or did it have real meaning?

Luk 1:30

DO NOT BE AFRAID: Cp Luk 1:13; Mat 28:5; Luk 2:10; Rev 1:17.

YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD: Implies an earlier request: Gen 19:19; 34:11; 47:29; Exo 33:13; 34:9. To find favor implies a request answered, and we could draw the conclusion that this young, pure, Jewish woman may have been praying, though never really expecting a favorable answer: "May I be the mother of the Messiah." This would be in keeping with one traditional Jewish view of Isaiah 7:14: that a virgin would marry and then conceive (by natural means) a son who would become the Messiah, but not lit the Son of God. Since Mary and Joseph were both of the house of David, perhaps such thoughts had come to her. And since up to this point the Holy Spirit has not been mentioned, Mary might reasonably conclude that this child will be the son of Joseph.

Luk 1:32

THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID: Jesus is both legal and spiritual heir of David's throne: Eze 21:25-27; Rev 3:7; 5:5; Act 2:29,30; Mat 1:1; 2Sa 7:14.

Luk 1:33

HIS KINGDOM WILL NEVER END: Cp 2Sa 7:16; Psa 89:35.

Luk 1:35

THE POWER OF THE MOST HIGH WILL OVERSHADOW YOU: The language of Gabriel calls to mind that of Gen (cp Gen 1:2, LXX); the Spirit of God "overshadowing", or "moving upon" the face of the waters to bring forth life, as a mother hen brooding over her eggs and then her chicks. A direct parallel to the natural creation; this is the beginning of the spiritual, or new, creation. It is a picture of vast creative power, yet nonetheless tenderness and love. It is a picture of a God who sustains all things by His omnipotence, who acts as and when He chooses, and no man can understand, much less question, His prerogative. But also it is a picture of a God who is a Father, who pities His children, who lavishes mercies unnumbered upon those who can never hope to repay Him. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us..." (Cp Exo 40:35: the cloud abode on the tent of the congregation, and the glory of Yahweh filled tabernacle.) Cp also Joh 1:14.

TO BE BORN: Present participle: "is being born!" Ct v 31: the conception is already happening.

THE SON OF GOD: If the pre-existent Christ were already the Son of God before his birth, how could being born of a woman MAKE him the Son of GOD? If anything, it would make him the son of MAN!

References in Psalms to the Virgin Birth: (a) Psa 22:9,10: The AV mg has: "kept me safe". This was fulfilled in Mat 2:13-16. (b) Psa 69:8: "My brethren" = "my mother's children", but not "my father's children" -- implying that Jesus had no human father! (c) Psa 71:6: "You brought me forth, or upheld me from the womb!" (d) Psa 86:16 / Psa 116:16: Cp with Luke 1:38,48: Mary is the "handmaiden" of the LORD, and in these words she gives her consent which is necessary for the conception of the unique child in her womb. (e) Psa 89:26,27: "I will appoint him my firstborn". Cp Col 1:15,18. The "first Adam" and "last Adam": referring to the one who is "firstborn" not just by his birth, but by his special selection by his Father, and especially by his overcoming of sin and death. (f) Psa 110:3: Why does David call him "Lord"? Because, though born after David, Jesus is greater than he -- being the son of the Most High. See v 3: "From the womb before the morning I begat thee" (LXX). (g) Psa 132:11: "From your belly" (AV mg) -- ie, not "loins" (as of paternal origin), but "womb" (maternal origin). This is the same word in 2Sa 7:12. Cp with Luke 1:42.

Luk 1:36

RELATIVE: Either (1) Mary's mother was of Levi, or (2) Elizabeth's mother was of Judah (Tes 23:248).

Luk 1:37

Cp with Mat 17:20: "Nothing will be impossible for YOU."

Luk 1:38

I AM THE LORD'S SERVANT: Mary knew the passages in the psalms in which the Messiah is called the son of God's maidservant (Psa 86:16; 116:16.) Immediately she makes the connection, and gives her consent to become the mother of His Son, a consent which is essential to His purpose. A veil is now modestly drawn over the scene. Of the actual conception Luke tells us nothing, and we must conclude that such knowledge is too sacred for mortals. How was this miracle accomplished? In the jargon of modern science, what was the "genetic code" begotten of such a union? Prudence counsels us to explore no further along these lines than Scripture expressly warrants. But perhaps Psa 139:13-17 gives us an insight into this greatest of all mysteries -- God manifest in the flesh.

Mary gives her consent; that was essential too. Doing what God did without the consent of the young woman would have been equivalent to rape! (I say this in all seriousness, although it may seem offensive even to put the thought into words... but believe me, I am saying it with the greatest reverence I can produce, and with the highest regard for the monumental awe with which we should view this act of creation, or procreation. Could it have been any other way? Could God have forced Himself upon an unwilling woman, or one who didn't understand what was happening?)

There may have been, shall we say, a dozen qualified couples at approximately the right time and place as Mary and Joseph. God chose the only woman who would, and could, agree... that meant a woman who had prepared herself in faith even before the divine approach. And Mary's own song (in Luk 1:46-55) shows what an extraordinary young woman she was, and how well she knew the Scriptures.

So... Mary was in the right place at the right time -- that was God's providence. And she said, "Yes" -- that was her faith. God's providence and a woman's faith... from this came the Saviour of the World.

SERVANT: Cp 2Sa 7:25,28.

Luk 1:39

Mary went to see a visible confirmation of the power of God -- as an aid to her own faith.

HURRIED: Great eagerness.

THE HILL COUNTRY OF JUDEA: The tableland to the south and sw of Jerusalem, centered about Hebron. Hebron may have been the city of Zechariah and Elizabeth (Jos 21:11). But another village in this area was named "Juttah", near Maon (Jos 15:55; 21:16), and poss it is the one referred to here. It would have been an unusual trip for a just-betrothed young woman to undertake, and it would naturally arouse the curiosity of the townsfolk of Nazareth. After she returned three months later (v 56) Mary's condition would no longer be concealed, and the flickering curiosity would be fanned into a fire of suspicion and denunciation.

Luk 1:41

THE BABY LEAPED IN HER WOMB: And so Elizabeth knew the purpose of Mary's visit by divine revelation.

Luk 1:42

BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN: Borrowed and included in v 28?

Luk 1:43

THE MOTHER OF MY LORD: Great as her own son was to be (v 15), Mary's son would be greater yet. An understanding of his divine parentage!

Luk 1:44

THE BABY IN MY WOMB LEAPED FOR JOY: See Rom 8:22: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."

Luk 1:46

At birth, 4 songs: Mary (Luk 1:46-55), Zechariah -- for John (Luk 1:67-79), angels (Luk 2:14), and Simeon (Luk 2:29-32).

MY SOUL GLORIFIES THE LORD: Mary recalls words of Hannah (1Sa 2:7-10) and David (Psa 113:7,8). This phrase supplies the popular title to Mary's song: "The Magnificat". Mary's words are drawn from Psa 34:2,3, wherein David praises God for His overshadowing protection. Even when His children are afflicted (Psa 34:19) God's angel encamps around them, to deliver them (Psa 34:7). Also, Psa 40:16, where David has spoken prophetically of a greater who would "come" (Psa 40:7), of whom the "scroll" contained wonderful promises, whose heart would be filled with delight for the law of God (Psa 40:8). Mary carried within her womb that special One, in whose mind the law would be engraved, one whose every action would "magnify" his Heavenly Father.

Luk 1:47

GOD MY SAVIOR: Mary already appreciates the significance of her son's name: Jesus, "Yah-shua", "God my Savior". See Psa 35:9; Hab 3:18.

Luk 1:48

HE HAS BEEN MINDFUL: "He hath looked upon" (ASV). Mary is reflecting how God "looked upon" Elizabeth and also gave her conception -- "looking upon" is an idiom for answered prayer or God's response to human request (Gen 6:12; 29:32; Exo 2:25; Deu 26:7; Jdg 6:14). All this implies that Mary like Elisabeth had requested to have this child -- to bear the Messiah. She sees what God has done as His mercy to her (1:50), as if a request had been granted. Cp idea, Luk 1:30.

THE HUMBLE STATE OF HIS SERVANT: Mary's home in Nazareth was humble, and her family was poor. Her lineage, from great king David, was exalted; yet in Roman-occupied Palestine this was of no consequence. David's house had sunk to the low estate that Isaiah envisioned, when he prophesied that a special "Shoot" or "Branch" would spring from the "stump" or "root" of Jesse (Isa 11:1n). The "root" was Jesse, not David his famous son, in order to indicate that David's house would have fallen into obscurity, as it had been when David himself, the youngest and least likely of Jesse's sons, was chosen and anointed by Samuel (1Sa 18:18,23). The "cross" that Mary was called to bear would bring her a great "humiliation" -- a humiliation that would climax when a "sword" would pierce her own soul (Luk 2:35), and her son, great David's heir, would be exposed to a cruel, mocking crucifixion.

ALL GENERATIONS WILL CALL ME BLESSED: Yet her own generation did everything but bless her! But she was strengthened with the blessed assurance that the "cursing" was for only one lifetime, and that all generations to follow would "bless" her and her son.

Mary's prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled, even though most often in superstition and ignorance. One might even suggest it has been "over-fulfilled", since millions of deluded apostates have elevated the peasant girl of Galilee to a status that would horrify her if she only knew: "Mother of God", "Queen of Heaven", "Mediatrix". True believers will of course repudiate such grossness while at the same time not losing sight of the real Mary, blessed above all women. Mary was not a Roman Catholic "saint"; she was a righteous woman chosen by God for a glorious role.

Luk 1:49

THE MIGHTY ONE: Echoes the OT title of God, El Gibbor, picturing God as a mighty warrior. It appears to be an odd title to use in the circumstances, until it is remembered that Mary's son would be the "arm" of Yahweh (v 51) to do battle with the forces of sin, first in himself, and then in the world when he comes to take his throne.

Luk 1:50

HIS MERCY EXTENDS TO THOSE WHO FEAR HIM: Mary recognized God as being unique and separate, the epitome of all righteousness (Psa 99:3; Exo 15:11; Isa 6:3; 1Sa 2:2), so pure that He cannot behold sin (Hab 1:13; Psa 5:4).

FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION: Yet blended with that awesome holiness there is also ongoing, abounding mercy, "from generation to generation", a mercy that does not reward us according to our sins (Psa 103:10,11), but instead provides us with the perfect covering for our sins.

Luk 1:51

MIGHTY DEEDS: The militant character of God is still in Mary's thoughts (cp 1Sa 2:4-8). This expression recalls the redemption of Israel from Egypt, memorialized in Moses' song of victory (Exo 15:6,7,12,13). Mary has faith that God will deliver His people from a greater bondage than Egyptian slavery -- not from subjection to Rome, though that has its part, but from servitude to sin and death: "For Christ our passover has been sacrificed" (1Co 5:7).

Luk 1:52

BROUGHT DOWN RULERS... LIFTED UP THE HUMBLE: Her son's contemporaries would revile him, and persecute him, and scoff at all he held most precious. His followers would be "everywhere spoken against". The proclamation of the cross would appear weak and foolish to worldly men, but one day the tables will be turned. One day the "poor" will be made rich, and they that "hunger" after righteousness will be filled (v 53; Mat 5:6). One day the meek will roar like lions and inherit the earth (Mat 5:5). And one day those who have humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God will be exalted by His grace (1Pe 5:6).

Luk 1:53

THE RICH: Cp parable of publican and sinner praying: Luk 18:10-13.

Luk 1:56

THEN RETURNED HOME: Not to Joseph's house. He has not yet been informed, but soon her pregnancy will become obvious (Mat 1:18-24). Mary had received a wonderful blessing, but her path through life had become infinitely more difficult. Just how difficult it would be she would discover when she returned to Nazareth.

Luk 1:59

TO CIRCUMCISE THE CHILD: Cp Gen 17:5,13,14: "It was customary to name male children at their circumcision, and females when weaned" (Spk).

AFTER HIS FATHER ZECHARIAH: To commemorate the special Temple revelation.

Luk 1:62

THEY MADE SIGNS TO HIS FATHER: Not necessarily that he was deaf, but perhaps so as not to offend Elizabeth.

Luk 1:63

JOHN: Sig "grace". Following the era of the law and prophets, the first written word of the new dispensation was "Grace" (Luk 16:16; Joh 1:17).

Luk 1:64

PRAISING GOD: In the words of Luk 1:67-79.

"The gift of speech is a wonderful gift and we are apt to take it for granted. Like many other things, we usually do not appreciate something unless it is lost or is in danger of being lost. Think a minute about John the Baptist's father, Zacharias. He was dumb and could not utter a word for about nine months. One moment he could converse and the next not a sound would come out. For nine long months it was like this. When he could speak again, what did he say? Did he complain and go on about how terrible it was not to be able to talk? Did he ask for pity? No, he praised God. He used his voice to glorify his Creator who had struck him dumb and had opened his mouth. He lived out the truth expressed by Job, that 'the Lord gives and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord' " (BL).

Luk 1:65

Vv 65,66: The result of Zechariah's song. Many laid up these things in their hearts (Luk 2:19,51).

Luk 1:66

EVERYONE WHO HEARD THIS WONDERED ABOUT IT, ASKING, "WHAT THIS IS THIS CHILD GOING TO BE?": John, as he grew, provided a necessary protection and diversion to allow Jesus to grow and develop spiritually without fanfare. John was the "lightning rod"!

Luk 1:68

HE HAS COME AND REDEEMED HIS PEOPLE: This is language borrowed from the Exodus. In the burning bush God revealed Himself to Moses by His memorial name Yahweh (Exo 3:15) and sent him to the enslaved Israelites with the words of Exo 3:16,17 (cp Exo 4:31). God did redeem His people out of bondage by the blood of the passover lamb and the death of the firstborn, which things are incontestably an allegory of redemption in Christ.

REDEEMED: See Lesson, Redemption.

Luk 1:69

HORN: Sym power: Psa 75:4, 5; 89:17,24; 112:9; 2Sa 22:3. The figure of speech was used also by Hannah in her rejoicing at the birth of Samuel (1Sa 2:1,10).

The parallels between Samuel and John the Baptist are striking:
  1. Both were conceived miraculously.
  2. Both were of the tribe of Levi.
  3. Both demonstrated precocious intelligence.
  4. Both were filled with the Holy Spirit.
  5. Both pronounced judgment upon an evil nation.
  6. Both called the people of Israel to repentance.
  7. Both marked the end of an era: Samuel the end of the Judges period; John the end of the age of the prophets.
  8. Both were "forerunners" of righteous kings.
  9. Both prepared God's way by fearlessly declaring His Word.
  10. Both anointed kings: Samuel anointed David at Bethlehem, and John "anointed" Jesus, by baptism, in Jordan.

Luk 1:70

HIS HOLY PROPHETS: The first such was Abraham (Luk 1:73; Gen 20:7; Psa 105:15).

Luk 1:71

SALVATION FROM OUR ENEMIES: See Gen. 22: 16,17. Many were the enemies of Israel, but the greatest "enemies" were sin and death. True salvation was wrought by Jesus, the seed of Abraham, in his defeat of the power of sin and his conquest, by resurrection, of the grave. The "gate of his enemies" captured by Christ is the "gate" of the grave and death (1Co 15:26, 55, 56; Rev 1:18; 20:6).

Luk 1:72

MERCY... REMEMBER... COVENANT... OATH (v 73): Cp name meanings of... John (grace), Zechariah (Yahweh remembers), and Elizabeth (the oath of El).

Luk 1:73

OUR FATHER ABRAHAM: See Gen 15:18; 22:16-18; Mic 7:20.

Luk 1:74

TO SERVE: That is, to serve as a priest.

WITHOUT FEAR: See Rom 8:15; Heb 2:14,15. Ct Luk 1:12.

Zechariah, with loosened tongue, rejoices in the language of Psa 18, which replicates the language of 2Sa 22. The fact that Zechariah uses the psalm and its historical background -- a point made obvious by the use of the Psalm title -- shows us that the setting up of David, in preference to Saul who was seeking David's life, patterns the birth of Jesus and also John.

Luk 1:76

AND YOU, MY CHILD...: From a contemplation of the work of the coming Messiah, Zechariah now turns with loving affection to his own little son. The prophecies particularly relevant here are Isa 40:3-8 and Mal 3:1,2.

Luk 1:77

THE FORGIVENESS OF THEIR SINS: The remission of sins is the keynote here. Sin is the root cause of all bondage, oppression and fear. The Romans and the Herods were only secondary causes. The Coming One would not, like so many would-be "Messiahs", hack away profitlessly at the "branches" of evil in government and society. He would instead root out sin at its source -- the human heart. And he would provide his followers with the only reward worth striving for, the remission of sins: "For this is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mat 26:28).

Luk 1:78

THE RISING SUN: "Anatole", sometimes translated "east", may also signify "sun-rising" (Rev 16:12, RV), a ref to Malachi's promised "Sun of righteousness" (Mal 4:2). But also, in a secondary sense, it signifies the "Branch" -- from the idea of "springing up". This sw, "anatole", appears in the LXX in the Messianic passages of Jer 23:5 and Zec 3:8; 6:12.

Luk 1:79

// Isa 42:7.

Luk 1:80

DESERT: The rugged country on western shores of Dead Sea.

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