Luke 1 Lesson

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:

HIGHLIGHTS OF LUKE’S GOSPEL

  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 CHAPTER 1 - DOUBT

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 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.” – Luke 1:6-7.

They had been praying for a child until one day, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias. Zacharias was gripped with fear, and the angel (Gabriel) 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. 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, our faith will be rewarded.
  • When we doubt God, we are punished and disciplined.

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 can 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.

We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture that illustrates God’s disdain for doubt in our lives:

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,being  a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ” – James 1:5-8.

Comments

John

As I study God's word, I can challenge myself to not doubt what I am reading.

Reply
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.

Reply
Vera adams

This was very helpful and plain

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