Luke's gospel presents Christ the man: the friend of publicans
and sinners (Luk 5:29; 7:29; etc), going beyond national ties (Luk 6:6; 10:30).
Special notice of women throughout. Only gospel addressed to one man (Luk 1:3).
Most artistic of the 4 gospels.
Luke portrays Christ as the man of constant prayer: Luk 3:21
(baptism); Luk 5:16 (in withdrawal and seclusion); Luk 6:12 (all night in
prayer); Luk 9:18 (in private); Luk 9:29 (Transfiguration); Luk 11:1 ("Teach us
to pray"); Luk 18:1-14 (the parable of importunate widow); Luk 22:32 (prayer for
Simon); Luk 22:41-45 (in Gethsemane); Luk 23:34,46 (at crucifixion).
...And the man of universal compassion: Luk 7:11-16 (the
miracle of life for the bereft widow); Luk 7:37-50 (forgiveness for the sinful
woman); Luk 13:11-17 (release for the despondent cripple); Luk 17:11-19
(cleansing for the despised alien); Luk 19:1-10 (approval for the social
outcast); Luk 22:50,51 (care for the smitten enemy); Luk 23:39-43 (hope for the
MANY: Implying need for a sound history. "The gospels
written by Mark and Luke have a place in the NT, although the authors were not
apostles; yet the writings of the 'many who took in hand to set forth in order a
declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us', to whom
Luke refers, are not in the NT. What governed the inclusion of some and the
exclusion of others? The answer is to be found in the belief the Jews
entertained that the 'collection of the sacred books was defined under Divine
guidance, and closed at the Divine command.' The proof is in the pages of the
Bible" (Orac 65).
FROM THE FIRST: A criteria of apostleship: being with
Jesus from the "beginning": Act 1:21; 1Co 15:5,8; Joh 15:27; 1Jo 2:13.
EYEWITNESSES... OF THE WORD: The "word" is a title of
Jesus Christ (cp Heb 4:12,13; Act 20:32; 1Pe 1:23; Rev 6:9; Joh 1:1, etc; cp //s
between Luk 1:1-4 and 1Jo 1:1-3).
EYEWITNESSES: Gr "autoptes": lit, self-seeing. Related
to Engl "autopsy": an examination for oneself of a dead body, for causes of
death! "Greek medical writers often had the word" (RWP).
Why this word here? Because, whether at the beginning of his
ministry or even after his resurrection, the living Jesus WAS a dead body! In
"life" he was "dead" already. After his resurrection the emblems of his death
were still visible! He was a man who was born to die, who lived a "death" to the
flesh, and who -- even now -- is the Lamb who had been slain (Rev 13:8)! And
those who deny him are spoken of as crucifying him yet again (Heb 6:6;
CAREFULLY INVESTIGATED EVERYTHING: The presence of Holy
Spirit does not remove need for effort and reason.
"The words 'having had perfect understanding' [AV] are,
literally, 'having closely traced.' The verb means 'to follow along a thing in
the mind.' The word was used for the investigation of symptoms. Thus it speaks
of a careful investigation of all sources, oral and written, which purport to be
accounts of our Lord's life.
"Luke had the historian's mind, a thing native to the educated
Greek. Herodotus, the father of Greek history, exhibited the Greek determination
to get at the truth no matter how much work it required, when he travelled to
central Africa to verify the account of the annual rise and fall of the Nile
River. In those days this was a long and difficult journey... Thus we have no
doubt but that Luke made a personal investigation of all the facts he had
recorded. He interviewed every witness, visited every locality. If Mary was
still alive, he, a doctor of medicine, investigated the story of the virgin
birth by hearing it from Mary's own lips" (Wuest).
FROM THE BEGINNING: "Anothen" (sw Joh 3:31; 19:11; Jam
1:17; 3:17). Did he mean that he had been in contact with Jesus from the
earliest days? Or did he mean that his information came from the highest
authorities (eg Luk 1; 2 from Mary herself)? Or was he claiming direct guidance
and inspiration from heaven, ie from above?
AN ORDERLY ACCOUNT: Not necessarily chronological, but
certainly detailed and accurate and factual.
MOST EXCELLENT: Related to rank and authority: Act
23:26; 24;3; 26:25; cp Joh 20:31.
CERTAINTY: Lit "security".
THINGS YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT: Gr word is related to
English "catechism", impl questions and answers, and constant repetition: ie Gal
6:6; Rom 2:18; Act 18:25; 21:21,24. Cp Pro 22:20,21.
HEROD: An Idumean, or Edomite: the first Gentile on the
throne of Judah.
ZECHARIAH: Note that the OT prophecy of Zech is
followed by that of Mal, which prophesies of John the Baptist.
ABIJAH: The eighth of the 24 courses; fittingly, eight
is the numerical symbol of the cutting off of the flesh (the eighth day being
the day for circumcision) and a new beginning (the eighth day also being the
first day of a new week).
Very enthusiastic praise from Luke. Cp God's words to
childless Abraham: Gen 17:1.
BARREN: As Sarah (Isaac), Hannah (Samuel), wife of
WELL ALONG IN YEARS: Cp Gen 18:11.
So many priests in this time that lots were drawn, and this is
prob a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! (Some say there were then 20,000 priests:
INCENSE: Psa 141:2.
ALL THE ASSEMBLED...: "The whole multitude" (KJV)
implies one of the great feast days. Poss Pentecost: the course of Abijah was on
duty at that time of year (WGos 10).
PRAYING: Symbolized by the incense.
RIGHT SIDE: Side of blessing (Gen 48:11; ct Eze 4:4)
and acceptance (Mat 25:31; Rev 5:7; 10:1).
This was the least likely place on earth to find a stranger.
Cp Amos' vision -- an angel at the altar with woeful judgment (Amo
DO NOT BE AFRAID: Cp Luk 1:30; Mat 28:5; Luk 2:10; Rev
YOUR PRAYER HAS BEEN HEARD: For son, AND for Messiah?
How awesome it is that the God of all creation makes His own mighty purpose
dependent upon the prayers of His people!
JOHN: Sig "the gift or grace of Yahweh".
HE WILL BE A JOY AND DELIGHT TO YOU, AND MANY WILL REJOICE
BECAUSE OF HIS BIRTH: The joy and gladness for this woman who has conceived
in her old age -- a reference back to Sarah, who laughed (Gen 21:6), so that all
who hear shall laugh with her? See also Pro 23:24.
HE WILL BE GREAT: Cp Mat 11:11: none greater than John
FROM BIRTH: Or "from his mother's womb" (mg): cp Isa
49:1; Psa 22:9,10.
SILENT AND NOT ABLE TO SPEAK: Zechariah's affliction of
dumbness was more than the rebuke for a momentary lapse. It was a marvelous
symbol of the end of an age. Zechariah could not pronounce the required blessing
upon the waiting multitude, and from that day forward the priesthood of which he
was a member could no longer mediate true blessings upon the nation. The end was
in sight, a greater priest of a greater order was soon to appear, and the whole
Mosaic system -- having waxed old -- was now almost ready to vanish away (Heb
8:13). Even Zechariah's son, as he grew to manhood, would disdain the duties of
a priest and go out into the wilderness, as though to watch and wait for the
Lord, who would come not OUT OF the temple, but TO the Temple (Mal 3:1). "The
Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news
of the kingdom of God is being preached" (Luk 16:16). The law was holy and just
and good; it had been given by angels to Moses, but its purpose was now
fulfilled. Grace and truth would come by another (Joh 1:17). Zechariah's son
would go out into the desert of Judea to meet him.
SILENT: Poss also deaf (cp Luk 1:62).
WHY HE STAYED SO LONG: Priests were instructed to be
expeditious in their service in the Holy Place.
HE COULD NOT SPEAK TO THEM: This day the priest was
unable to impart God's blessing in the Law's required manner. See Luk
SECLUSION: Separating herself from all ordinary social
contact, perhaps by remaining and working in the Temple (cp Luk 2:36).
TAKEN AWAY MY DISGRACE: The words of Rachel in Gen
Luk 1:26-38: The story of the conception and birth of Christ
might be appreciated in the light of Psa 139: "For thou didst form my inward
parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise thee, for thou
art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well,
my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately
wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in
thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when
as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How
vast is the sum of them!" (Psa 139:13-17, RSV).
The phrases" knit together" and "intricately wrought" are the
same words used of the woven pattern on the veil of the Tabernacle, and the
embroidery of the door hangings, the coat of the High Priest, and the veil of
the Most Holy (Exo 26:31,36; 27:16; 28:39; 36:37; 38:18; 39:29; cp Heb
Christ is the true tabernacle, or temple of God (Mat 12:6;
John 1:14; 2:19; Col 2:9; Heb 8:2; 9:7,8,11). Even as the fabrics were specially
selected, and specially worked, until the desired effect was achieved in the
curtains and furnishings and priestly garments of tabernacle and temple -- so
that God Himself might be exalted, and eternal principles taught in figurative
language -- so out of the "fabric" of human nature, the Master Craftsman
skillfully selected and wove together... the perfect "tabernacle", the perfect
"temple" -- His Son!
Modern science has begun to penetrate into the mysteries of
DNA, the genetic code imprinted on the human chromosome, and to see -- as
through a glass darkly -- the building blocks of human life. Surely we may stand
in awe at the amazing complexity, and the supreme design, in such a system. And
especially may we be brought to our knees in admiration -- for the intricate
"design" that became God's Only-begotten Son. "Fearfully and wonderfully made"
GABRIEL: "The angel of answered prayer" (WGos 10,718):
see Dan 8:15,16; 9:21-23; Luk 1:13,19).
YOU WHO ARE HIGHLY FAVORED: KJV has: "Blessed art thou
among women", as in v 42.
THE LORD IS WITH YOU: Blessing of the Lord of the
harvest: Psa 129:7,8; Jdg 6:12; 2Th 3:16.
WHAT KIND OF GREETING THIS MIGHT BE: Was it mere
flattery, after eastern custom, or did it have real meaning?
DO NOT BE AFRAID: Cp Luk 1:13; Mat 28:5; Luk 2:10; Rev
YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD: Implies an earlier
request: Gen 19:19; 34:11; 47:29; Exo 33:13; 34:9. To find favor implies a
request answered, and we could draw the conclusion that this young, pure, Jewish
woman may have been praying, though never really expecting a favorable answer:
"May I be the mother of the Messiah." This would be in keeping with one
traditional Jewish view of Isaiah 7:14: that a virgin would marry and then
conceive (by natural means) a son who would become the Messiah, but not lit the
Son of God. Since Mary and Joseph were both of the house of David, perhaps such
thoughts had come to her. And since up to this point the Holy Spirit has not
been mentioned, Mary might reasonably conclude that this child will be the son
THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID: Jesus is both legal and
spiritual heir of David's throne: Eze 21:25-27; Rev 3:7; 5:5; Act 2:29,30; Mat
1:1; 2Sa 7:14.
HIS KINGDOM WILL NEVER END: Cp 2Sa 7:16; Psa
THE POWER OF THE MOST HIGH WILL OVERSHADOW YOU: The
language of Gabriel calls to mind that of Gen (cp Gen 1:2, LXX); the Spirit of
God "overshadowing", or "moving upon" the face of the waters to bring forth
life, as a mother hen brooding over her eggs and then her chicks. A direct
parallel to the natural creation; this is the beginning of the spiritual, or
new, creation. It is a picture of vast creative power, yet nonetheless
tenderness and love. It is a picture of a God who sustains all things by His
omnipotence, who acts as and when He chooses, and no man can understand, much
less question, His prerogative. But also it is a picture of a God who is a
Father, who pities His children, who lavishes mercies unnumbered upon those who
can never hope to repay Him. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath
bestowed on us..." (Cp Exo 40:35: the cloud abode on the tent of the
congregation, and the glory of Yahweh filled tabernacle.) Cp also Joh
TO BE BORN: Present participle: "is being born!" Ct v
31: the conception is already happening.
THE SON OF GOD: If the pre-existent Christ were already
the Son of God before his birth, how could being born of a woman MAKE him the
Son of GOD? If anything, it would make him the son of MAN!
References in Psalms to the Virgin Birth: (a) Psa 22:9,10: The
AV mg has: "kept me safe". This was fulfilled in Mat 2:13-16. (b) Psa 69:8: "My
brethren" = "my mother's children", but not "my father's children" -- implying
that Jesus had no human father! (c) Psa 71:6: "You brought me forth, or upheld
me from the womb!" (d) Psa 86:16 / Psa 116:16: Cp with Luke 1:38,48: Mary is the
"handmaiden" of the LORD, and in these words she gives her consent which is
necessary for the conception of the unique child in her womb. (e) Psa 89:26,27:
"I will appoint him my firstborn". Cp Col 1:15,18. The "first Adam" and "last
Adam": referring to the one who is "firstborn" not just by his birth, but by his
special selection by his Father, and especially by his overcoming of sin and
death. (f) Psa 110:3: Why does David call him "Lord"? Because, though born after
David, Jesus is greater than he -- being the son of the Most High. See v 3:
"From the womb before the morning I begat thee" (LXX). (g) Psa 132:11: "From
your belly" (AV mg) -- ie, not "loins" (as of paternal origin), but "womb"
(maternal origin). This is the same word in 2Sa 7:12. Cp with Luke
RELATIVE: Either (1) Mary's mother was of Levi, or (2)
Elizabeth's mother was of Judah (Tes 23:248).
Cp with Mat 17:20: "Nothing will be impossible for
I AM THE LORD'S SERVANT: Mary knew the passages in the
psalms in which the Messiah is called the son of God's maidservant (Psa 86:16;
116:16.) Immediately she makes the connection, and gives her consent to become
the mother of His Son, a consent which is essential to His purpose. A veil is
now modestly drawn over the scene. Of the actual conception Luke tells us
nothing, and we must conclude that such knowledge is too sacred for mortals. How
was this miracle accomplished? In the jargon of modern science, what was the
"genetic code" begotten of such a union? Prudence counsels us to explore no
further along these lines than Scripture expressly warrants. But perhaps Psa
139:13-17 gives us an insight into this greatest of all mysteries -- God
manifest in the flesh.
Mary gives her consent; that was essential too. Doing what God
did without the consent of the young woman would have been equivalent to rape!
(I say this in all seriousness, although it may seem offensive even to put the
thought into words... but believe me, I am saying it with the greatest reverence
I can produce, and with the highest regard for the monumental awe with which we
should view this act of creation, or procreation. Could it have been any other
way? Could God have forced Himself upon an unwilling woman, or one who didn't
understand what was happening?)
There may have been, shall we say, a dozen qualified couples
at approximately the right time and place as Mary and Joseph. God chose the only
woman who would, and could, agree... that meant a woman who had prepared herself
in faith even before the divine approach. And Mary's own song (in Luk 1:46-55)
shows what an extraordinary young woman she was, and how well she knew the
So... Mary was in the right place at the right time -- that
was God's providence. And she said, "Yes" -- that was her faith. God's
providence and a woman's faith... from this came the Saviour of the
SERVANT: Cp 2Sa 7:25,28.
Mary went to see a visible confirmation of the power of God --
as an aid to her own faith.
HURRIED: Great eagerness.
THE HILL COUNTRY OF JUDEA: The tableland to the south
and sw of Jerusalem, centered about Hebron. Hebron may have been the city of
Zechariah and Elizabeth (Jos 21:11). But another village in this area was named
"Juttah", near Maon (Jos 15:55; 21:16), and poss it is the one referred to here.
It would have been an unusual trip for a just-betrothed young woman to
undertake, and it would naturally arouse the curiosity of the townsfolk of
Nazareth. After she returned three months later (v 56) Mary's condition would no
longer be concealed, and the flickering curiosity would be fanned into a fire of
suspicion and denunciation.
THE BABY LEAPED IN HER WOMB: And so Elizabeth knew the
purpose of Mary's visit by divine revelation.
BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN: Borrowed and included in v
THE MOTHER OF MY LORD: Great as her own son was to be
(v 15), Mary's son would be greater yet. An understanding of his divine
THE BABY IN MY WOMB LEAPED FOR JOY: See Rom 8:22: "We
know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth
right up to the present time."
At birth, 4 songs: Mary (Luk 1:46-55), Zechariah -- for John
(Luk 1:67-79), angels (Luk 2:14), and Simeon (Luk 2:29-32).
MY SOUL GLORIFIES THE LORD: Mary recalls words of
Hannah (1Sa 2:7-10) and David (Psa 113:7,8). This phrase supplies the popular
title to Mary's song: "The Magnificat". Mary's words are drawn from Psa 34:2,3,
wherein David praises God for His overshadowing protection. Even when His
children are afflicted (Psa 34:19) God's angel encamps around them, to deliver
them (Psa 34:7). Also, Psa 40:16, where David has spoken prophetically of a
greater who would "come" (Psa 40:7), of whom the "scroll" contained wonderful
promises, whose heart would be filled with delight for the law of God (Psa
40:8). Mary carried within her womb that special One, in whose mind the law
would be engraved, one whose every action would "magnify" his Heavenly
GOD MY SAVIOR: Mary already appreciates the
significance of her son's name: Jesus, "Yah-shua", "God my Savior". See Psa
35:9; Hab 3:18.
HE HAS BEEN MINDFUL: "He hath looked upon" (ASV). Mary
is reflecting how God "looked upon" Elizabeth and also gave her conception --
"looking upon" is an idiom for answered prayer or God's response to human
request (Gen 6:12; 29:32; Exo 2:25; Deu 26:7; Jdg 6:14). All this implies that
Mary like Elisabeth had requested to have this child -- to bear the Messiah. She
sees what God has done as His mercy to her (1:50), as if a request had been
granted. Cp idea, Luk 1:30.
THE HUMBLE STATE OF HIS SERVANT: Mary's home in
Nazareth was humble, and her family was poor. Her lineage, from great king
David, was exalted; yet in Roman-occupied Palestine this was of no consequence.
David's house had sunk to the low estate that Isaiah envisioned, when he
prophesied that a special "Shoot" or "Branch" would spring from the "stump" or
"root" of Jesse (Isa 11:1n). The "root" was Jesse, not David his famous son, in
order to indicate that David's house would have fallen into obscurity, as it had
been when David himself, the youngest and least likely of Jesse's sons, was
chosen and anointed by Samuel (1Sa 18:18,23). The "cross" that Mary was called
to bear would bring her a great "humiliation" -- a humiliation that would climax
when a "sword" would pierce her own soul (Luk 2:35), and her son, great David's
heir, would be exposed to a cruel, mocking crucifixion.
ALL GENERATIONS WILL CALL ME BLESSED: Yet her own
generation did everything but bless her! But she was strengthened with the
blessed assurance that the "cursing" was for only one lifetime, and that all
generations to follow would "bless" her and her son.
Mary's prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled, even though
most often in superstition and ignorance. One might even suggest it has been
"over-fulfilled", since millions of deluded apostates have elevated the peasant
girl of Galilee to a status that would horrify her if she only knew: "Mother of
God", "Queen of Heaven", "Mediatrix". True believers will of course repudiate
such grossness while at the same time not losing sight of the real Mary, blessed
above all women. Mary was not a Roman Catholic "saint"; she was a righteous
woman chosen by God for a glorious role.
THE MIGHTY ONE: Echoes the OT title of God, El Gibbor,
picturing God as a mighty warrior. It appears to be an odd title to use in the
circumstances, until it is remembered that Mary's son would be the "arm" of
Yahweh (v 51) to do battle with the forces of sin, first in himself, and then in
the world when he comes to take his throne.
HIS MERCY EXTENDS TO THOSE WHO FEAR HIM: Mary
recognized God as being unique and separate, the epitome of all righteousness
(Psa 99:3; Exo 15:11; Isa 6:3; 1Sa 2:2), so pure that He cannot behold sin (Hab
1:13; Psa 5:4).
FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION: Yet blended with that
awesome holiness there is also ongoing, abounding mercy, "from generation to
generation", a mercy that does not reward us according to our sins (Psa
103:10,11), but instead provides us with the perfect covering for our
MIGHTY DEEDS: The militant character of God is still in
Mary's thoughts (cp 1Sa 2:4-8). This expression recalls the redemption of Israel
from Egypt, memorialized in Moses' song of victory (Exo 15:6,7,12,13). Mary has
faith that God will deliver His people from a greater bondage than Egyptian
slavery -- not from subjection to Rome, though that has its part, but from
servitude to sin and death: "For Christ our passover has been sacrificed" (1Co
BROUGHT DOWN RULERS... LIFTED UP THE HUMBLE: Her son's
contemporaries would revile him, and persecute him, and scoff at all he held
most precious. His followers would be "everywhere spoken against". The
proclamation of the cross would appear weak and foolish to worldly men, but one
day the tables will be turned. One day the "poor" will be made rich, and they
that "hunger" after righteousness will be filled (v 53; Mat 5:6). One day the
meek will roar like lions and inherit the earth (Mat 5:5). And one day those who
have humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God will be exalted by His
grace (1Pe 5:6).
THE RICH: Cp parable of publican and sinner praying:
THEN RETURNED HOME: Not to Joseph's house. He has not
yet been informed, but soon her pregnancy will become obvious (Mat 1:18-24).
Mary had received a wonderful blessing, but her path through life had become
infinitely more difficult. Just how difficult it would be she would discover
when she returned to Nazareth.
TO CIRCUMCISE THE CHILD: Cp Gen 17:5,13,14: "It was
customary to name male children at their circumcision, and females when weaned"
AFTER HIS FATHER ZECHARIAH: To commemorate the special
THEY MADE SIGNS TO HIS FATHER: Not necessarily that he
was deaf, but perhaps so as not to offend Elizabeth.
JOHN: Sig "grace". Following the era of the law and
prophets, the first written word of the new dispensation was "Grace" (Luk 16:16;
PRAISING GOD: In the words of Luk 1:67-79.
"The gift of speech is a wonderful gift and we are apt to take
it for granted. Like many other things, we usually do not appreciate something
unless it is lost or is in danger of being lost. Think a minute about John the
Baptist's father, Zacharias. He was dumb and could not utter a word for about
nine months. One moment he could converse and the next not a sound would come
out. For nine long months it was like this. When he could speak again, what did
he say? Did he complain and go on about how terrible it was not to be able to
talk? Did he ask for pity? No, he praised God. He used his voice to glorify his
Creator who had struck him dumb and had opened his mouth. He lived out the truth
expressed by Job, that 'the Lord gives and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the
name of the Lord' " (BL).
Vv 65,66: The result of Zechariah's song. Many laid up these
things in their hearts (Luk 2:19,51).
EVERYONE WHO HEARD THIS WONDERED ABOUT IT, ASKING, "WHAT
THIS IS THIS CHILD GOING TO BE?": John, as he grew, provided a necessary
protection and diversion to allow Jesus to grow and develop spiritually without
fanfare. John was the "lightning rod"!
HE HAS COME AND REDEEMED HIS PEOPLE: This is language
borrowed from the Exodus. In the burning bush God revealed Himself to Moses by
His memorial name Yahweh (Exo 3:15) and sent him to the enslaved Israelites with
the words of Exo 3:16,17 (cp Exo 4:31). God did redeem His people out of bondage
by the blood of the passover lamb and the death of the firstborn, which things
are incontestably an allegory of redemption in Christ.
HORN: Sym power: Psa 75:4, 5; 89:17,24; 112:9; 2Sa
22:3. The figure of speech was used also by Hannah in her rejoicing at the birth
of Samuel (1Sa 2:1,10).
The parallels between Samuel and John the Baptist are
Both were conceived miraculously.
Both were of the tribe of
Both demonstrated precocious intelligence.
Both were filled with
the Holy Spirit.
Both pronounced judgment upon an evil nation.
called the people of Israel to repentance.
Both marked the end of an era:
Samuel the end of the Judges period; John the end of the age of the
Both were "forerunners" of righteous kings.
God's way by fearlessly declaring His Word.
Both anointed kings: Samuel
anointed David at Bethlehem, and John "anointed" Jesus, by baptism, in
HIS HOLY PROPHETS: The first such was Abraham (Luk
1:73; Gen 20:7; Psa 105:15).
SALVATION FROM OUR ENEMIES: See Gen. 22: 16,17. Many
were the enemies of Israel, but the greatest "enemies" were sin and death. True
salvation was wrought by Jesus, the seed of Abraham, in his defeat of the power
of sin and his conquest, by resurrection, of the grave. The "gate of his
enemies" captured by Christ is the "gate" of the grave and death (1Co 15:26, 55,
56; Rev 1:18; 20:6).
MERCY... REMEMBER... COVENANT... OATH (v 73): Cp name meanings
of... John (grace), Zechariah (Yahweh remembers), and Elizabeth (the oath of
OUR FATHER ABRAHAM: See Gen 15:18; 22:16-18; Mic
TO SERVE: That is, to serve as a priest.
WITHOUT FEAR: See Rom 8:15; Heb 2:14,15. Ct Luk
Zechariah, with loosened tongue, rejoices in the language of
Psa 18, which replicates the language of 2Sa 22. The fact that Zechariah uses
the psalm and its historical background -- a point made obvious by the use of
the Psalm title -- shows us that the setting up of David, in preference to Saul
who was seeking David's life, patterns the birth of Jesus and also
AND YOU, MY CHILD...: From a contemplation of the work
of the coming Messiah, Zechariah now turns with loving affection to his own
little son. The prophecies particularly relevant here are Isa 40:3-8 and Mal
THE FORGIVENESS OF THEIR SINS: The remission of sins is
the keynote here. Sin is the root cause of all bondage, oppression and fear. The
Romans and the Herods were only secondary causes. The Coming One would not, like
so many would-be "Messiahs", hack away profitlessly at the "branches" of evil in
government and society. He would instead root out sin at its source -- the human
heart. And he would provide his followers with the only reward worth striving
for, the remission of sins: "For this is my blood of the [new] covenant, which
is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mat 26:28).
THE RISING SUN: "Anatole", sometimes translated "east",
may also signify "sun-rising" (Rev 16:12, RV), a ref to Malachi's promised "Sun
of righteousness" (Mal 4:2). But also, in a secondary sense, it signifies the
"Branch" -- from the idea of "springing up". This sw, "anatole", appears in the
LXX in the Messianic passages of Jer 23:5 and Zec 3:8; 6:12.
// Isa 42:7.
DESERT: The rugged country on western shores of Dead