LUKE - Lessons 1

Lesson 1
People of Hope
Luke 1:1-80

Luke begins his story of the extraordinary Christ by introducing some very ordinary people. They live in a small, second-rate country occupied by imperial Rome. It is around 4 B.C. For over 400 years their nation, Israel, has heard no prophetic voice from God.
Has God forgotten his chosen people? Has he left them to be the perennial pawns of aggressive neighbors? Is he going back on his many promises to send his Messiah to save them?
No. God is about to break into Israelís dark history with new light, and he chooses to do this through an elderly childless couple and a teenaged village girl.

1. How do you feel on a committee or in a group when you are part of a hopeful minority among pessimistic people?

2. Luke opens with an event that bridges the Old Testament religion to New Testament Christianity. As you read Luke 1:1-25, note the references to that older religion. In what ways do Zechariah and Elizabeth show that they still hope in the God of Israel?

3.Gabriel announces some astounding facts to Zechariah about his son who is to be born (vv. 11-17). Do you find yourself sympathetic or critical of Zechariahís response of unbelief (vv. 18-22)? Explain.

4. The circumstances of the birth of the Messiahís forerunner were to be most unusual. Why do you suppose God planned it this way?

5. Read Luke 1:26-56 for Gabrielís second birth announcement. How is it even more extraordinary than the first?

6. Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary also hopes in God. She accepts Gabrielís message more readily than Zechariah did. Which would you find easier to believeóa promise from God through an angel or a promise through the Bible? Why?

7. The visit to her cousin Elizabeth bolsters Maryís faith for the stupendous event to come. As expressed in her song of response, what kind of God does she believe in (vv. 46-55)?

8. Read Luke 1:57-66. Note the effects of Johnís birth on neighbors and relatives. What might be Lukeís purpose in describing their response in such detail?

9. Read Luke 1:67-80. In Zechariahís inspired prophecy he sees (1) the great acts that Godís Redeemer will do (vv. 68-75), and (2) his childís unique relation to this Redeemer (vv. 76-79). Suppose you were one of Zechariahís neighbors or relatives listening to him. Which part would have stirred you as a devout Jew? Explain.

10. Zechariah and Mary expressed their hope in God differently. What in their interaction with God gives you hope as you also seek to trust God totally?