Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Adult Bible Study on Luke 1:26-80 - The Announcement of the Birth of Jesus

Luke 1:26-80

(New International Version)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

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.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

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[a] 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.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in 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’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for 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 thrones
    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.

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave 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.

Zechariah’s Song

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[b] of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David
70 (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[c]; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.


1. In verses 28 and 30, Gabriel tells Mary that God favors her. What can we tell about Mary that would cause God to favor her?


Mary is humble, trusting, and obedient. When she accepts the task God has given her, she’s simply acting according to her nature. She was a true servant of God before and after Gabriel appeared to her.



2. Mary’s Son would be adopted by Joseph, a descendant of King David, meaning He would be the legal heir to the throne of Israel. But He wasn’t Joseph’s biological Son. The Child was miraculously conceived in Mary through the power of God. Why is it important for the Child to be, literally, the Son of God?


John 5:16-18 - So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute Him. In His defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.


A son in that culture typically carried on his father’s work, just as Jesus carried on God’s work. And a son is equal to his father in that they hold the same position. John Doe, Jr. will one day take the place of John Doe, Sr. Even while they’re both alive, both are Mr. Doe. They’re the same in that regard. In regard to the Trinity, God’s Son is the same as God in His Divine attributes.


If Jesus did not share God’s infinite nature, He couldn’t take the punishment for an infinite number of sins. As a perfect man, He would be able to take the punishment for one person’s sins only.



3. In verse 37, Gabriel says “For no word from God will ever fail.” What comfort can we take from this statement?


All of God’s promises will come true. Even in our own lives, if God communicates something to us, it will happen. God is never wrong. Nothing can stop God’s plan.



4. In verses 39-45, we read that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke prophetically about matters she had no prior knowledge of. She acknowledges Mary’s pregnancy (which she probably didn’t know about before Mary’s visit) and acknowledges Mary’s Baby as her Lord. What does this show us about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives?


The Spirit can reveal things to us that we would not know without His inspiration.


1 Corinthians 12:8 - To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit



5. Mary’s song begins on a personal note, but then she starts talking about God removing rulers from their thrones and sending the rich away empty to lift up the poor and feed the hungry. Why do these things have to do with her Son?


Like Elizabeth, Mary is prophesying. She’s foreseeing what her Son will do when He reigns as King. She may not have known that this would not be fulfilled until Christ’s second coming.



6. In verses 59-63, Elizabeth and Zechariah confirm their son’s name to be John, which means God is Gracious. How is God’s grace shown in the life of John?


God was gracious to Zechariah and Elizabeth in giving them a child, but He is also showing His grace in using John to call people back to Himself. Any time God reaches out to us, it’s an expression of grace. We don’t deserve for God to call us to repentance or offer us forgiveness, but He’s gracious, so He does.



What to do after reading this passage

Jesus was to carry on His Father's work. Now, we are adopted by that same Father. Ask Him what work of His He would have you continue this week.




Do you have another insight into this passage? Please share below!





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