Bible Stories for Adults
God's Promise to Zechariah
Welcome and Announcements
Next Week - The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25)
Bible Words to Remember:
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7
Luke - The Historical Gospel (Luke 1:1-4)
Who was Luke?
Colossians 4:14 = A doctor, friend of Paul's, Gentile
How qualified was Luke to write the gospel (good news) of Jesus?
Acts 16:9-10 = Traveled & worked with Paul on his 2nd & 3rd journeys
What was the scope of his gospel? = Written third of 4 gospels, around 90 AD
Acts 1:1-2 = From when Jesus began to do & teach until He ascended
Did Luke write his gospel because no one else had tried to record what had happened?
Luke 1:1-2 = No, many had already tried to record the story from eyewitnesses
Why did Luke go to this trouble if others had already done so? = may know the certainty
Luke 1:3-4 = carefully investigated everything, hired by Theophilus (loved by God)
How carefully had Luke investigated everything and made his facts certain?
Luke 3:1-2 = Nailed things down to the nth degree
Did Luke have any help getting his facts straight?
2 Peter 1:20-21 = Scripture not written by men, but by God's Spirit working thru men
Why is it so important to God that the Bible is fully accurate and without errors?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 = God breathed His truth into it so we may be thoroughly equipped
Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-7)
With what story and details does Luke begin his book? = Nails down who & when
Luke 1:5 = Story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, priests during Herod the Great (37-4BC)
What does it mean that Zechariah belonged to the priestly division of Abijah? = weekly rotation
1 Chronicles 24:1, 3, 10, 19 = Aaron's descendants divided into 24 divisions by David
Priests could only marry Jewish women, especially honorable to marry a desc of Aaron
Was this marriage a coincidence or were these devout Jews trying to please God?
Luke 1:6 = Not sure, but they devoutly tried to please God, were righteous in His sight
Did God shower them with earthly blessings in response to their faithfulness?
Luke 1:7 = No, childlessness was considered a sign of God's displeasure
Childlessness was blamed on the woman, legal grounds for divorce
Zechariah Is Specially Selected (Luke 1:8-10)
What special honor did Zechariah receive once when he went on duty?
Luke 1:8-10 = Chosen by lot to burn incense in temple (am & pm priests)
About 20,000 priests divided into 24 divisions, each on duty at the temple two weeks per year
All priests on duty at the temple for Passover, Pentecost and Feast of the Tabernacles
Special duties (50 per day) assigned to priests by throwing lots
Most special duty was to offer the incense in the Holy Place before the Holy of Holies
Could only do once in a lifetime, many priests never had the opportunity
Incense offered in morning and evening with sacrifice
Rising sweet smoke symbolized prayers going to heaven
Worshippers prayed until the priest came back out and gave the benediction
Zechariah Gets a Special Surprise (Luke 1:11-13)
Did things go smoothly for Zechariah during his special service?
Luke 1:11 = An angel of the Lord appeared to him next to the altar
How did Zechariah feel about what he saw?
Jewish tradition reserved the right side of the altar for God and the left for angel Gabriel
Luke 1:12 = Very scared
Besides being surprised, why would Zechariah be so scared?
Exodus 33:20 = God told Moses that no one can see His face and live
What comforting message was Zechariah given? = Johanan - Jehovah's gracious gift
Luke 1:13 = Don't be afraid, your prayer has been heard, Will have a son, John
Don't be afraid - also used by angels and Jesus in Luke 1:30; 2:10; 5:10; 8:50; 12:7, 32
You Can't Steer a Parked Car (Colossians 3:23-24)
Does God come to His people in His house like His angel came to Zechariah in the temple?
Exodus 33:9 = The Lord met with Moses inside His house, the Tent of Meeting
Do we need to go to God's house for Him to speak to us?
Exodus 3:1-2 = Moses was tending his father-in-law's sheep when God called him
Judges 6:11 = Gideon was threshing wheat when the angel came to him
1 Kings 19:19 = Elisha was plowing with oxen when he received Elijah's mantle
1 Samuel 16:11 (Psalm 78:70) = David was tending sheep when Samuel called him
Matthew 9:9 = Matthew was busy collecting taxes when Jesus called him
Mark 1:16-20 = Peter, Andrew, James & John were fishing & mending nets
Does this mean we should not sit back quietly and wait for the Lord to come to us?
2 Thessalonians 3:6, 11-13 = Yes, God gives us productivity so we may be productive
But don't we need to quietly meditate to hear God talk to us?
Matthew 13:11, 14-16 = No, we need open hearts to receive and accept God's calling
So does God want us to put ourselves fully into our work?
Colossians 3:23-24 = Yes, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord
Does this mean that being a workaholic is in line with God's desire for our lives?
Luke 10:41-42 = Work should not take priority in our lives over God
This Special Son (Luke 1:14-17)
How would John be different than other kids? = Many will rejoice
Luke 1:14-15 = Great in God's sight, never drink alcohol, filled with HS from birth
How would Zechariah understand the point that John should never drink alcohol?
Numbers 6:1-3 = Would be a Nazirite, life dedicated to God (Samson & Samuel)
What examples of Nazirites do we have in the Old Testament?
Judges 13:3-5 = Samson was brought to a childless couple to be a Nazirite for life
How do we first see that John was truly filled with the Holy Spirit from birth as the angel said?
1 Samuel 1:20, 27-28 = Samuel was born of a childless woman who gave him to God
Luke 1:41-44 = E learned from the Spirit in unborn John that Mary would have Jesus
Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord (Luke 1:16)
What work would the Spirit accomplish through the life of this Nazirite?
Luke 1:16 = Return many of the Jews to faith & devotion to God
Why was this important to God's plan?
Mark 1:1-3 = To fulfill Isaiah's prophesy of one to prepare the way for the Lord
How effective would John be in his ministry?
Mark 1:4-5 = Whole Judean countryside & all the people of Jerusalem confessed
The Spirit and Power of Elijah (Luke 1:17)
What other special thing did the angel foretell about John?
Luke 1:17 = He will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah
What was the last prophesy God had given the Jews 400 years earlier? = quoted by angel
Malachi 4:5-6 = I will send Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children ...
Did the people recognize John to be the promised return of Elijah?
Matthew 17:10-13 = Elijah has already come, and they didn't recognize him
Were the people told that Elijah had returned?
Matthew 11:7, 10, 14 = Jesus told crowd - John is the Elijah who was to come
Doubting Zechariah (Luke 1:18)
After hearing the message from the angel what story would Zechariah have remembered?
Genesis 18:1, 10-11 = The gift of Isaac to old Abraham & Sarah
How easily did faithful Abraham and Sarah believe God's promise?
Genesis 17:17; 18:12-14 = Both A & S laughed at this impossible promise
Did Zechariah show any stronger faith when given a similar message? = Asked for sign
Luke 1:18 = Questioned the impossible promise, just like Abraham & Sarah
How did the angel remind Zechariah who the promise was from?
Luke 1:19 = Introduced self as Gabriel sent by God with this message
Would this angel's name mean anything to Zechariah? = Gabriel - Man of God
Daniel 8:15-16 (9:21-22) = Sent by God to explain visions to Daniel, An archangel
What other job does Gabriel get to do? = Only other named angel is Michael (Dan, Jude, Rev)
Luke 1:26-28 = Announce the birth of Jesus to Mary (next week's lesson)
Greek Word Meanings:
Angelia (ahn-ge-LEE-a) = Message
Angel = Messenger
Evangel = Good Message - literally translated in English to gospel
Gospel = From Anglo-Saxon göd spell (meaning good tidings)
Evangelist = One who brings good message (gospel)
You Asked For A Sign, You've Got It (Luke 1:20)
What sign would Zechariah be given because of his lack of faith?
Luke 1:20 = Unable to speak until John is born
Was there any other part of the sign?
Luke 1:62 = He may also have been made deaf
Did the worshippers outside realize what had happened?
Luke 1:21-22 = They wondered what took so long, realized he saw a vision
Why had the worshippers waited so long for Zechariah?
Numbers 6:22-26 = He was to give the Aaronic benediction before they left
What other sign was Zechariah given that the promise would happen?
Luke 1:23-25 = Elizabeth got pregnant after he returned home
Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen
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