The text for this lesson is Luke 1:57–80
- Through Zechariah, God said John would give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of sins. Through His Holy Word, God speaks to give us knowledge of salvation and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus.
- Law: As a child of the first parents, Adam and Eve, I am sinful and in need of salvation.
- Gospel: John, the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, and others who proclaim the Good News point me to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
- In the ancient world, names carried much more meaning than they do in our culture. Luke 1:13 says that Gabriel instructed Zechariah to name his son John, which means “The Lord is gracious and moved to pity.” How was the name John appropriate for his mission? What is the significance of having the name of God placed upon us in Baptism? See Matthew 28:19.
- Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:67), uttered the prophecy recorded in Luke 1:68–79. What would his son, John, do as a prophet (vv. 76–77)? Whom would John prophesy about (vv. 78–79)? Who was the last and greatest of the prophets (Luke 4:24)?
- John the Baptist identifies Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). How would John deliver forgiveness to people (Luke 3:3)? What does Jesus identify as the essential message of the Christian Church (Luke 24:47)? What is the basis for that message (Luke 24:46)? Why is this message so important?
- A word closely related to the forgiveness of sins is righteousness. In Luke 1:6 and 2:25, Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Simeon are described as “righteous.” Why are they called that? To understand what makes us righteous, we have to understand what justify means. Read Romans 4:1–9. What does it mean that God “justifies the ungodly” (v. 5)?
- Read Luke 1:50, 54, 58, 72, 77–78; 6:36; 10:37. What do we learn about God’s mercy from these verses? What do we learn about the mercy we are to show to others?
- In Luke 1:57–66, we see the neighbors and relatives of Zechariah and Elizabeth playing an important role in the circumcision and naming of John. Since Christian congregations are made up of sons and daughters of God who are brothers and sisters in Christ, what responsibilities and opportunities are presented to the church by our cultural climate?