The text for this lesson is Luke 1:5–25
- God promised to send John to prepare sinners to receive the Savior. Through His Word, God calls us to repent and declares us righteous because of Jesus.
- Law: I sin when I doubt God’s Word and promises.
- Gospel: God sent His Son to forgive my sin and works through His Word and Sacraments to give me faith to believe and to strengthen my trust in Him.
- The word angel means “messenger.” God often sent angels to announce important events in salvation history. Whom did Jesus later send out into the world as His messengers? Who are Jesus’ messengers to the world today? How can we tell whether someone is a true or false messenger of God?
- Zechariah had been chosen to serve at the altar of incense, just outside the Most Holy Place, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. While the priest offered incense, believers would offer prayers at the temple (Luke 1:10). What does incense symbolize? See Psalm 141:1–2. Why might God have instituted the use of incense for Old Testament worship?
- Look at Luke 1:5–7. What does it mean that both Zechariah and Elizabeth were “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord”? Why can this verse not mean that Zechariah and Elizabeth were saved by perfect obedience to the Commandments? See Romans 3:23–24.
- Read Luke 3:3. What was John’s basic message? According to Luke 1:16, what would be one outcome of John’s preaching?
- Luke 1:15 says that John “must not drink wine or strong drink.” According to Psalm 104:15, what does wine symbolize? In Luke 7:33–34, Jesus contrasts His own ministry with John’s, saying that John drinks no wine but that He does. What could this difference in their ministries indicate?
- God muted Zechariah in order to chastise him for his unbelief. When misfortunes occur in our lives, should we interpret them as God’s punishments? What are some examples of signs that people today seek in order to confirm that God loves them? What are the only signs of God’s love for which we should look? Read Romans 8:28.
- Luke 1:15 says that John would “be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” Read Luke 1:39–45. Who alone can give faith? What could these passages tell us about the possibility of unborn babies having faith?