Luke 1 presents the purpose of Luke’s gospel, Gabriel’s visits, the song of Mary (the Magnificat), and the birth of John the Baptist.
With 80 verses, Luke 1 is the longest chapter in this gospel. In this chapter, Luke presents his reason for writing.
The angel Gabriel visited Zacharias and Mary to herald the coming of John the Baptist and of Christ. Both Mary and Elizabeth figure prominently in this chapter, offering songs of praise for the blessings bestowed upon them. Zacharias prophesied about the coming of Jesus and the role of John the Baptist. Luke 1 ends with the birth of John the Baptist.
Luke 1 Outline
Purpose of Luke’s gospel
Gabriel delivers the promise of a son to Zacharias
Background of Zacharias and Elizabeth
Zacharias is selected to burn incense
Gabriel speaks to Zacharias in the temple
Zacharias appears to Jews outside the temple
Elizabeth conceives as Gabriel promised
Gabriel delivers the promise of a son to Mary
Mary visits her relative Elizabeth
Elizabeth’s song of love
Mary’s song of faith
Mary stays with Elizabeth for 3 months
Birth of John the Baptist
Zacharias and Elizabeth name him “John.”
Zacharias’ prophecy of hope
Prophecy concerning Jesus
Prophecy about John the Baptist
John the Baptist grows up in the wilderness
Mary’s Song of Faith
God chose Mary to bear his only son. Mary’s faith can be seen in her response to Gabriel, and in her song of faith.
Mary believed Gabriel, responding to his revelation with the words, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Also called The Magnificat, Mary’s song of faith praised God’s greatness, mercy, and regard for the humble.
Zacharias’ Prophecy of Hope
Also called The Benedictus, Zacharias’ prophecy of hope proclaims thanksgiving for God’s mercy and for his plan of redemption.
When John was born, Zacharias delivered a two-part prophecy of hope. As Mary upheld God as her savior (Luke 1:47), Zacharias first proclaimed the hope of Israel’s salvation through Christ.
Hope in his son was declared in the second part of Zacharias’ prophecy. John the Baptist was part of God’s redemptive plan.
- Jesus and John the Baptist were related through their mothers. John was about six months older than Jesus (Luke 1:26, 36).
- The primary mission of John the Baptist was to prepare the hearts of the Jews for the coming of the messiah (Luke 1:76-77).
- The Holy Spirit indwelt John from the womb (Luke 1:15). John leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary greeted her (Luke 1:44). According to this passage, the unborn have a spirit and feel emotions.