Reflections on Luke 1:
First and foremost, I will be doing my best to post each week about the reading we are engaging in together at First Fire. I have explained that in full here.
Luke chapter 1 is a long chapter, 80 verses in total.
A fact worth noting: the original text did not have chapter and verse numbers – these were added in the 16th century. (for more information click here)
The chapter is divided like this – in other words, here are big thought ‘blocks’ that build the chapter.
1-4: Introduction and the why and how Luke wrote this.
5-25: Story of Zechariah and Elizabeth and the promise of their son, John the Baptist
26-38: Mary is told that she will be the mother of Jesus
39-56: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth
57-80: Elizabeth gives birth to John
A few really big things stick out to me as I read and reflect on this chapter:
First: The opening 4 verses say this:
Many people have already applied themselves to the task of compiling an account of the events that have been fulfilled among us. 2 They used what the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed down to us. 3 Now, after having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, I have also decided to write a carefully ordered account for you, most honorable Theophilus. 4 I want you to have confidence in the soundness of the instruction you have received.
It is important that Luke tells his probable benefactor for this writing, Theophilus the that what he has written and recorded has been investigated and written carefully. IT is ordered. Luke was a physician and seems to be very methodical in his writing. We will see this play out in both Luke and Acts. BTW: Luke and Acts combined are almost a 3rd of the whole of the New Testament. The take away: we can trust this writing and can trust it has been well thought out.
It is also worth noting that Luke had talked to those that experienced things first hand. He had talked to them and had used their stories.
Second: The repeated mention of the Holy Spirit
vs. 15: it is said of John – He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth
vs. 35: The angel says to Mary: The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son.
vs. 41,42 : When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 With a loud voice, she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. – sidetone, it is interesting that the Holy Spirit caused her to blurt out in a loud voice….
vs. 67: Zechariah filled with Holy Spirit after birth of John – John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied”
The Holy Spirit will be a large theme for Luke throughout both books of Luke/Acts. The Holy Spirit is in this chapter a catalyst that can be with someone before birth (John), the one that does the miraculous (helps create Jesus in Mary’s womb), overcomes people and they speak God’s words – see Elizabeth and Zachariah.
Third: It reads like a great movie plays out in the opening scenes.
You have a man who is taking into account all that has happened to tell the story well of Jesus. We pan to Zechariah in the temple and angel visits him – he is afraid. He is promised a son with his wife Elizabeth. He can not speak… we then fade out and focus on a young girl in a backwaters town – an angel appears to her – she is going to bear God’s son. This young girl Mary is cousins with Elizabeth. They meet and hang out for a while and more affirmation via the Holy Spirit. Prophecies and songs are sung and end with a wild man in the wilderness. Scripture is a story and must be engaged that way….
Fourth: Anyone that encounters a messenger from God – an angel – is scared to death. This happens twice in chapter 1 of Luke
What do you think?
What has stuck out to you?
What questions do you have?
Let’s pick up up the conversation on the First Fire’s Facebook page.
Strength and courage,
Kevin A. Parido