Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

Mary & Elizabeth / The Birth of John

Luke 1:39-80

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Jesus Rejected at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Opening Prayer

Review of Two Weeks Ago (Luke 1:1-25)
    How does the historian Luke transition from the Old Testament into his story of Jesus?
      Luke 1:5-7 = Story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, devout Jewish priestly couple
    What happened toward the ends of the lives of these faithful Jews?
      Luke 1:8, 11, 13 = God sent an angel to tell them they would have a son, John
    Why would God send an angel just to tell an elderly couple they would have a child?
      Luke 1:14-17 = He'd be the messenger who would prepare the people for the Messiah
    How did the angel reply when Zechariah couldn't believe what he was seeing and hearing?
      Luke 1:18-20 = Introduced self as Gabriel sent by God; Made Z deaf & dumb as proof
    What other proof was this couple given that what the angel said was true?
      Luke 1:24 = The old woman Elizabeth became pregnant

Review of Last Week (Luke 1:26-38)
    What job is this arch-angel Gabriel assigned to next?
      Luke 1:26-27, 30-31 = Sent 6 months later to tell Mary she will bear Jesus
    Was Mary told anything about who this child really was?
      Luke 1:32-33 = Great, Son of God, Promised Messiah to rule on David's throne forever
    Did Mary ask for proof or help believing this amazing announcement as Zechariah had?
      Luke 1:34 = No, she believed it but asked how it would happen
    How would Mary become pregnant even though it would be months before Joseph took her in?
      Luke 1:35 = Was conceived by the Holy Spirit & born of a virgin
    Although she didn't ask for it, what proof did Gabriel give Mary for this impossible birth?
      Luke 1:36-37 = Elizabeth's pregnancy shows nothing is impossible with God
    How faithfully did Mary accept this promise? = Handmaid was lowest form of female servant
      Luke 1:38 = Accepted her job as the Lord's servant (handmaid) - willing submission

A Small Select Sorority (Luke 1:39-40)
    With whom could Mary share this great news who wouldn't call her crazy? = 3-5days, 50-70mi
      Luke 1:39-40 = Immed went to Elizabeth - also had miracle news, Confide in each other
    Town assumed to be Hebron, a Levite town in the Judean hill country (Joshua 21:10-11)
      Hebron - Promise to Isaac, circumcision instituted, Abraham's first land, David crowned,
        Abraham/Sarah/Isaac/Rebekah/Jacob/Leah buried there = Jesus conceived?

The Spirit's Greeting (Luke 1:41-45)
    How was the promise to Mary confirmed by Elizabeth even before they saw each other?
      Luke 1:41 = John leapt in womb, Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit
    How do we know Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and not just happy to see her relative?
      Luke 1:42-43 = Only Mary knew she would become pregnant with Jesus
    What did Elizabeth say to explain how she knew Mary would be the mother of the Messiah?
      Luke 1:44 = John leapt in her womb when they heard Mary's voice
    How could a baby leaping in a womb be taken as a sign from God?
      Luke 1:15 = John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth, maybe happened here
    Did Elizabeth praise Mary for being so holy that she would bear God's Son?
      Luke 1:45 = No, she praised her for having the faith to believe what God had told her

Magnificat anima mea Dominum (Luke 1:46-55) = Latin for the first line of Mary's Song
    How did Mary respond to Elizabeth's strange greeting?
      Luke 1:46-47 = She sang a song of praise to God, Gave the glory to God
      Hebrew poetry often used synonymous parallelism (second line reiterates the first)

    What great things did Mary praise God for that He had done for her?
      Luke 1:48-49 = A great position in His eternal history tho nothing by human standards
    Was Mary boasting of herself when she said all generations will call me blessed?
      1 Corinthians 1:26-31 = No, she was boasting in the Lord & what He had done for her

    What great things did Mary praise God for that He has done for us?
      Luke 1:50-53 = Mercy and mighty deeds to His faithful over all time
    How has God scattered those who are proud and brought down rulers from their thrones?
      Matthew 23:2, 5-7, 11-12 (Rom 9:30-10:4) = Exalted->humbled, humbled->exalted
    How do we see He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty?
      Mark 10:21-23, 26-27 = The hungry for the Spirit are filled, the self-full will be hungry
    How does Jesus later explain these contrasts of humility and self-righteousness?
      Matthew 5:6 (3-12) = The Beatitudes, those hungry for righteousness will be filled
      (See also Proverbs 3:34; Isaiah 2:11-12, 17; Psalm 107:9)

    What great things did Mary praise God for that He has done for Israel?
      Luke 1:54-55 = He remembered and kept His promises and will continue to do so
    Why is it important to us that God has remembered to be merciful to His chosen people Israel?
      Deuteronomy 7:7-9 = He keeps His promises to those He has chosen out of grace

Mary Surprises Joseph (Luke 1:56)
    How long did Mary stay with Elizabeth?
      Luke 1:56 = About 3 months, until right before John was born
    What surprised Joseph when he welcomed his betrothed Mary back to Nazareth?
      Matthew 1:18-19 = She was 3 months pregnant, he decided to divorce her
    How did God protect the legal legitimacy of His only Son?
      Matthew 1:20, 24-25 = Sent angel to explain, J took her in but kept her virginity intact

John Is Born and Named (Luke 1:57-66) = Jehohanan - Jehovah's gift or God is gracious
    What happened soon after Mary returned to Nazareth?
      Luke 1:57-58 = Elizabeth had a son, her neighbors & relatives came and celebrated
    When a birth was near, friends and local musicians would gather by the house
      When a boy was born, the musicians started playing and everyone celebrated
      If it was a girl, the musicians would leave quietly - Romans might throw the girl away
      Double celebration at this birth - Barren Elizabeth was blessed with a son

    What would happen to a Jewish boy eight days after his birth?
      Genesis 17:12 = He would be circumcised, usually by the father, and named (tradition)
      Names were descriptive, parent's names were often given
    Neighbors and relatives would often help name a child:
      Ruth 4:16-17 = Neighbors named Obed, Ruth's son & Naomi's legal grandson
    What name did Elizabeth's neighbors and friends naturally want to give this child?
      Luke 1:59-61 = Zechariah, after his father - No one in family had name John

    How were the neighbors able to get Zechariah's decision since he couldn't speak or hear?
      Luke 1:62-63 = Made signs to him, he wrote on a tablet, His name is John
      Writing tablet - Hollowed out wooden board filled with wax, inscribe into the wax
    What happened after Zechariah had officially given his son the unprecedented name John?
      Luke 1:64 = Immediately his mouth was opened, he praised God
    How did the neighbors respond to Zechariah's sudden ability to speak?
      Luke 1:65 = They were filled with awe, talked about it to everyone around
    How did others respond when they heard what had happened?
      Luke 1:66 = Wondered what great plans God had in store for this boy

Benedictus dominus deus Israel (Luke 1:67-79) = Latin for first line of Zechariah's song
    Besides the ability to speak, how else was Zechariah blessed after John was named?
      Luke 1:67 = He was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied - a Spirit-filled family
    Did Zechariah praise God for sending him this special son despite his old age?
      Luke 1:68 = No, he praised God for coming in the Messiah to redeem His people

    Why did Zechariah praise God for coming? Didn't they believe He was always there?
      Luke 7:16-17 = Yes, but here He personally visited in a prophet - first in 400 years
    If the people recognized Jesus as God come down, why did they kill Him?
      Luke 19:41, 44 = Only some recognized Him, the leaders in Jerusalem didn't
    Did Jesus' followers understand that He came to redeem (pay the price) for Israel?
      Luke 24:20-21 = Yes, they were confused that He had died without doing so

    What did Zechariah say that told those around that He was speaking of the Messiah?
      Luke 1:69 = A horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David
    What did Jews think of when prophets spoke about a horn? = Horns referred to kings
      Daniel 7:8, 24 = Horns meant power because of great strength of horned animals
    How would the people understand Zechariah's reference to a horn in David's house?
      Psalm 132:17 = The promised king to come from David's lineage

Benedictus (Luke 1:67-79)
    How does Zechariah make sure that those listening recognized what he is saying?
      Luke 1:70 = Pointed out that he was referring to what the prophets had said
    What was God doing for His people by sending this Messiah?
      Luke 1:71-73 = Bringing salvation, showing mercy and remembering His promises
    Why was God doing this?
      Luke 1:74-75 = To enable us to serve Him free from worry of eternal judgment

    How well did Zechariah understand his son's role in God's plan?
      Luke 1:76-77 = You will go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him
    What prophesy did Zechariah understand that his son John would fulfill?
      Isaiah 40:3-5 = A voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way for the Lord
    Why had Zechariah sung about the Messiah when thanking God for sending John?
      Malachi 3:1 = He knew that the Messiah would come suddenly after John
    Is Zechariah praising God for sending John or the sun of righteousness promised in Malachi 4:2?
      Luke 1:78-79 = He refers to Malachi's reference to the Messiah as the rising sun
    How would this rising sun shine on those living in darkness?
      Isaiah 60:1-3 = Jesus is the light of the world - Arise, shine, for your light has come

Training for Messiah's Messenger (Luke 1:80)
    How was John raised in preparation for his ministry?
      Luke 1:80 = Grew strong in spirit, lived in desert

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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