Luke 1:1-10

Luke 1:1-10 Zacharias, Luke

Who was Luke.  He was a Gentile, Greek, Missionary, an artist, painter, a Doctor and a Historian and a disciple of Apostle Paul.

Who was Luke?  He was a Gentile, Greek, Missionary, an artist, painter, a Doctor and a Historian and a disciple of Apostle Paul.

General Background of the writer, Luke

Who was Luke.  He was a Gentile, Greek, Missionary, an artist, painter, a Doctor and a Historian and a disciple of Apostle Paul.

Colossians 4:11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.

Luke was the beloved physician or doctor.  Luke used more medical terms than Hippocrates, the father of medicine. He was probably a physician in Troas.  He accompanied Paul on many of his missionary journey.  Luke is named only three times in the New Testament.

Look in the Book of Acts. how many times “we” is used, since Luke wrote the book of Acts.  Many times.  He apparently joined Paul in Acts (“we” passages), indicating that he was the person, We.

Colossians 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician {or Doctor} and Demas greet you. .

Philemon 1:24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.

Luke was chosen by the Holy Spirit to write some of the Holy Scriptures.  Luke’s Greek is the highest form of Greek; The best of any New Testament writer.  His writings are regarded as one of the finest pieces of historical writing in ancient literature. 

Luke’s gospel is the most complete historical narrative.  Book of Luke to me is like short snap shots of what happens.  Research, like a term paper. He collected information from all the Believers he could, then put them in order, as a historian.  Luke lived in the city of Antioch in Ancient Syria.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are “Synoptic Gospels” because the three books detail many of the same experiences, often in the same sequence. The Synoptics highlight Jesus’ Galilean ministry while John’s gospel highlights Jesus’ Judean ministry.

Historians say regarding Luke as highly accurate, description of towns, cities, and islands, as well as correctly naming various officials titles.

Luke gives us many features omitted by Matthew and Mark:

  • The account of the virgin birth
  • 20 miracles, 6 of which are in no other Gospel
  • 23 parables, 18 of which are nowhere else
  • Other details of the resurrection.

Dedication to Theophilus 

As a side, The first four verses of Luke’s gospel are one sentence in the original Greek, classical style. The rest of the gospel, Luke did not use the language of scholars but of the common person.

Luke 1:1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us,

Luke makes it clear that he was not the first to write a narrative of the ministry of Jesus. The sources for these narratives were eyewitnesses who delivered their testimony to the church.

Theophilus is a believer. Other gospels / writings are in circulation. Luke’s gospel is early. Luke identifies himself as a believer. 

Luke 1:2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us,

These verses suggest that Luke was not an eyewitness to the events of Jesus’ ministry, but that he had access to statements of those who were.

They were eyewitnesses, in contrast to Luke.  Luke says he was not an eye-witness of what happen, wrote down other people account and was not a minister of the word from the beginning.

Acts 1:22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

Luke uses “us” saying he is a Christian who believes in our Lord Jesus.  He as a companion of Apostle Paul.  To me, Luke writings are many biographies, who he interviewed in his research, from many eyewitnesses, put together for the Gospel of Luke.

Interesting, Luke is unique is the only New Testament writer who was a Gentile, wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.

Luke explains the reason for the writing of his Gospel.

Luke 1:3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus,

Luke is writing as an investigator, not an eyewitness.  He demonstrates diligence and thoroughness throughout his writings.  Luke is a skilled historian.  Luke covers from John the Baptist to Jesus ascension.

This verse represents characteristics that describe Luke work in this verse. 

  1. Luke investigated his topic and he did it with care.
  2. He did not claim to know everything about Jesus, but what he described was studied and treated accurately. of all things:
  3. The third characteristic of Luke’s work was its thoroughness. from the very first:
  4. The fourth characteristic of Luke was his interest in even the earliest events tied to Jesus’ life. an orderly account: Receive from Mary, Jesus mother

Who is Theophilus?  “Theophilus” = “lover of God,” most excellent”: probably a Roman government official of some kind, was a common name during the first century.

He was probably the direct recipient of Luke’s gospel and Acts, who then gave it wide circulation in the early church and for Apostle Paul appeal of his trail in Rome.  He had some instruction about Jesus.

Luke 1:4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.    {orally instructed by the Apostles or preachers of the gospel.}

Luke and Acts (“Luke Volume 2”) may have been the trial documentation for Apostle Paul.  Roman law required historical background of a case to precede appeal to Caesar. Such an undertaking was expensive and Theophilus may have been Paul’s sponsor.

Two observations about Luke’s writings: 1) Uprisings were the fault of Paul’s Jewish adversaries and 2) Centurions are always portrayed as good guys.

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 

Elizabeth was of the priestly family.  John by lineage, was one who was to become a priest. His parents lived when Herod the Great ruled as king of Judea (from 37 to 4 B.C.).

The priesthood of Israel was separated into twenty-four divisions, of which the family of Abijah was one.

Course of Abijah: Zacharias was of the 8th of 24 “courses” (divisions or classes) of priests, drawn up in David’s time. 

1 Chronicles 24:10 the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,

Each course took charge of the temple worship in succession, for a week at the time, twice a year, beginning on a Sabbath. The heads of these twenty-four courses are “the chief priests” so often spoken of in the New Testament.  All serve during the spring and fall feast days.

Zacharias was in the Temple serving his 8th course of Abijah in the month of June/July. And when you follow the timeline from there on it puts Jesus’s birth in the month of September/October.  Fall Feast time.

Luke 1:6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.

Zacharias = “God Remembers.” Elisabeth = “His oath.” The two are one flesh: “God remembers His oath.”  Priest and his wife were recognized by God as believers. They walked faithfully with God and kept His law. 

Deuteronomy 6:24-25 And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day.  (25)  Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’

This verse does not indicate they were sinlessness.  What about Cornelius. 

Acts 10:22  And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.”

What about Noah

Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

Luke 1:7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Barrenness was a shame in the Jewish culture. That it was an embarrassment to Elisabeth is evident in v. 25. God allowed several Old Testament women to experience barrenness; the mothers of Isaac, Samson, and Samuel.  What did Samson, Samuel, John have in common.

Old or advanced in life, so as to render the prospect of having children hopeless.

Luke 1:8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God,

One of perhaps 18-20 thousand priests who served in a year. Offering the incense was something a priest could do only once in his career. It was a great moment for Zacharias, all the more so because of the plan God had for him and his family.  The most memorable day in his and her life.

Before God; in the temple, where was the symbol of the divine presence, before the altar of the Lord; that Zechariah offered incense in the most Holy Place. 

Luke 1:9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

Zacharias was chosen by lot to be the priest who offered incense. God is over the casting of the lot.

Esther 3:7 In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman to determine the day and the month, until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.

In the service of the sanctuary nothing was left to accident or to human arrangement. The lot determined who was to perform each separate portion of the sacred service, and especially who was each morning and evening to burn incense before the Lord.

Burned on the altar of incense in the Holy Place morning and evening. To burn the incense was an office held so honorable, since it brought the offering priest nearer the divine presence in the Holy of Holies than any other priestly act, and carried with it the richest blessing from on high.

The part assigned to each priest in his week of service was decided by lot. Three priests were employed at the offering of incense.

  1. to remove the ashes {sweep / cleanse the altar} of the former service;
  2. to bring in and place on the golden altar the pan filled with hot burning coals taken from the altar of burnt offering; and
  3. to sprinkle the incense on the hot coals; and, while the smoke of it ascended, to make intercession {prayer} for the people {morning and evening}.

This was the most distinguished part of the service, and this was what fell to the lot of Zacharias at this time. Burn incense Before the Golden Altar of incense stood before the veil which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies {Lord Jesus throne}.  Next to the Holy of Holies.

The top of the altar was square—one cubit per side—and the whole altar was two cubits high. A cubit was about twenty inches, or just under two feet. The altar of incense was made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. It had four “horns,” one at each corner, similar to the altar of sacrifice in the courtyard.

In Scripture, incense is often associated with prayers of God’s people, Israel and Saints. David prayed,

Psalms 141:2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Revelation 8:3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Exodus 30:1 “You shall make an altar to burn incense on; you shall make it of acacia wood.

Exodus 30:2-3 It is to be square, a cubit long and a cubit wide, and two cubits high; its horns of one piece with it.  (3)  Overlay the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it.

Exodus 30:6 And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the Testimony, where I will meet with you.   {before the throne} 

Exodus 30:7 “Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it.

Exodus 30:8 And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.

Exodus 30:9 Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it.

Remember, priest did and they died. Important for one life.

Leviticus 10:1-2 Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them.  (2)  Fire came out from before the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before Yahweh.

Exodus 30:10 Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for the generations to come. It is most holy to the LORD.”

The altar of incense was called “most holy to the Lord  Why, prayers

What is the incense made or composed of, to qualified to be used on the Golden Altar.

Exodus 30:34 And the LORD said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of each.

The directions for making the incense are precise. The resulting mixture was a lavish, expensive, precious commodity. 

sweet spices: From an unused root meaning to smell sweet; an aroma: – sweet (spice).

stacte: a drop; specifically, an aromatic gum (probably stacte): – drop, stacte.  Stacte is simply the sap that drips from the tapping of the wood of the balsam tree”  

onycha: a scale or shell, that is, found in the Red Sea, mussel: – resemble a fingernailPrepared from certain vegetable resins or seashell parts. 

galbanum: an odorous gum (as if fatty): – Persian plant species grown in northern Iran.

sweet spices

From an unused root meaning to smell sweet; an aroma: – sweet (spice). 

pure frankincense נָfrom its whiteness or perhaps that of its smoke: – (frank-) incense. A resin of a certain tree.

Exodus 30:35 You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy.

The priest beat, compound, and mix several ingredients together.  Salt of Sodom put into the mixture. 

Exodus 30:36 And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.

Mix together the better, and be easier spread upon the coals, and the smoke thereof go up the sooner 

Exodus 30:37 But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the LORD.

For their own use, for the scenting of their rooms, or to snuff up, or smell to,

Women like to use scent in their homes. 

Exodus 30:38 Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.”

We are not to make this same ingredients for our own use, as a side, Jews said if someone does and sell to the congregation, that is OK, regardless what the Scriptures says. 

Luke 1:10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Zacharias was tending the Golden Altar (the Altar of Incense), which is associated with the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies, one time a year, on the Day of Atonement. The Golden Altar was just outside the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.

The Altar of Incense represents the prayers of the nation: Outside, the people were praying while inside Zacharias offered incense at the altar. The Ark was not in the Temple in those days, but the altar Zacharias tended is believed to be the original Golden Altar.

At that particular moment Zacharias was the focal point of the entire Jewish nation in prayer.  The hour of incense came twice a day, at 9 A.M. and 3:30 P.M. Probably the afternoon offering is in view here.  The men and women in separate courts, but the altar visible to all.

Praying without. The incense itself was a symbol of prayer, and when offered by the priest a bell was rung as a signal to the people in the courts without, who all engaged in prayer in deep silence.

Revelation 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.   {notice golden?}

Finally, remember what the Lord Jesus said about the Temple

Matthew 21:13 “It is written,” he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'”

Leave a Reply