Luke 1. Forum Discussion

Doubt

The Gospel of Luke is the longest and most comprehensive of the four gospels. Luke, a physician, writes his Gospel in chronological order and covers four main areas:

  1. The birth and early years of Jesus
  2. The ministry of Jesus
  3. The rejection of Jesus
  4. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus

In addition to his gospel, Luke also wrote the book of Acts. Chronologically, Acts picks up where the Gospel of Luke ends.

Luke was a well-respected man whom the apostle Paul called, “The beloved physician.” – Colossians 4:14. His attention to detail provides a thorough account of the ancestry of Jesus dating all the way back to Adam. Luke’s writing reveals the human side of Jesus. He provides amazing insight into the feelings and emotions of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who was both God and man.

Luke 1 contains 80 verses. For today’s lesson, we will focus on the story of Elizabeth and Zacharias (the parents of John the Baptist).

Elizabeth and Zacharias are described in verses 6-7 as follows:

“They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.”

They had been praying for a child until one day, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias and Zacharias was gripped with fear. The angel said to him:

“Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.  You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.  And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” – Luke 1:13-17.

Zacharias was a man who was, “Righteous in the sight of God,” however, when God sent word that their prayer had been answered, Zacharias responded with doubt. Luke writes beginning in verse 18:

“Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.  And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” – Luke 1:18-20.

The bible is full of great examples of faith, but this is not one of them. The story of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, is a story about doubt, and doubt is the opposite of faith. God was not happy with Zacharias’ response to the angel, Gabriel, because he doubted God’s ability to answer his prayers. God responded by punishing Zacharias and rendering him unable to speak until his baby, John the Baptist, was born.

The story of Zacharias and Gabriel provides us with a great example of how faith works. When we trust in God, good things happen. When we doubt God, nothing good will come of that.

SUMMARY OF ZACHARIAS AND THE ANGEL, GABRIEL

  1. Zacharias was righteous in the site of God.
  2. God sent an angel named Gabriel to Zacharias to let him know that their prayers for a child had been answered.
  3. Zacharias doubted what Gabriel told him.
  4. God punished Zacharias for doubting Gabriel’s message by making him unable to speak until the birth of his child, John the Baptist.
  5. Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist.
  6. Elizabeth and Zacharias were instructed to name the baby, “John”.
  7. Zacharias and Elizabeth were also being pressured to name the child after one of their relatives rather than obey the angel of the Lord’s direction to name the child, “John.”
  8. This time, instead of doubting, Zacharias obeys the angel of the Lord by asking for a tablet and writing, “His name is John.”
  9. At once Zacharias’ mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.
  10. Zacharias’ faith had made him whole!

There are times in our lives where God is ready to answer our prayers, and then the voice of doubt starts to creep into our minds. God wants us to listen to the voice of faith and ignore the voice of doubt. That can be easier said than done. The voice of doubt can be a loud voice. It can come from within our own head, or it can come from the people around us. As we have just seen, God punishes doubt and rewards faith.

Therefore, an increase in faith is something that we all should want, right? This begs the question, how do we increase our faith? What can we do to doubt less and believe more?

The Bible answers all of these questions for us. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote:

“So faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17.

When we immerse ourselves in God’s word, and challenge ourselves to apply it, our faith will grow stronger and doubt will slip away. The more we know about God and His plans for us, the better we can serve Him and the more fulfilling our lives will be. We should never put limits on how God will answer our prayers. Our Creator is capable of all things. As we have seen, God wants us to make a conscious effort to increase our belief and remove doubt from our lives.

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at Luke 2, and what God’s word has to say about obedience. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen

Comments

Pat Dermody

Mary was tasked by God to do a very difficult thing. By accepting this she would be an unwed mother ridiculed by her neighbors. Who would believe her story that while still a virgin she had become pregnant? Would Joseph believe her and marry her? What would her family think? What would become of her and her child if he didn’t marry her?
How often are we challenged by God? Are we willing to answer His call as Mary did?

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Prophet Lowery - Author of THE LAWLESS CHURCH

Notice in Luke 1:5-6 that Zacharias and Elizabeth were 'faithful.' Also notice in Luke 1:30-31 that Mary 'found favor with God.' This meant that all three of these people obeyed the commandments and judgments of The Law. God, then and now, only uses mightily those who will embrace His Way; that is, those who are faithful. These three people would not have been chosen of God if they did not obey His commandments. The faithful Believer is promised God's favor and the unfaithful Believer is promised calamity (fire) at God's hands. Although we are not under The Law; that is, we are not under The Law of Circumcision (Romans 6:14), which is a covenant reference, every Believer is called to embrace the commandments and judgments of The Law as much under the New Covenant as ever under the Old Covenant (Romans 6:14-15, I John 3:4, Romans 3:31). All of Jesus' parables and words teach this. Anyone who teaches otherwise is a false prophet (Matthew 5:13-20). The Church today is primarily being led by false prophets, as well-meaning as they may be.

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Nancy

Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue has the power of life and death. Maybe Zacharias' silence prevented him from saying words of unbelief that would have opened the door for the enemy to go after John and so the silence may have protected John's life.
A half cup of water can be considered half full or half empty.
Mary must have been a testimony that her parents were very Godly people that raised up a special young woman in God that responded humbly and in agreement with the angel.

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Vera adams

This was very helpful and plain

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Virtual Bible Study

Do you have any thoughts or comments that you would like to share relative to today's lesson?

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Michael
Virtual Bible Study

It's helpful to see such a clear example of doubt being punished and faith being rewarded. This lesson has helped my faith. Thank you!!

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Johnee
Virtual Bible Study

Thanks for sharing you are really help us to study the Bible Every day in depth

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Virtual Bible Study
Johnee

Thank you Johnee and Vera for your encouraging words. May God continue to bless you and your studies!

To God be the glory!

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