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Luke Chapter 1:46-80

Memory verses for this week:  John 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God..


Introduction: We continue our study of the book of Luke as we cover the last third of the long first chapter.   There was so much information that we could not have effectively covered so many verses in just two lessons.   Last week’s lesson was in regards to the angel coming to tell Mary about how she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ.    She was very surprised and could not comprehend how this was to be since she was a virgin and had never knew a man.   This was all explained, and her soon to be husband, Joseph, was a good man and protected and took care of her during her pregnancy.   We closed last week with Mary coming to Elizabeth to tell her the great news of Christ’s upcoming birth.  At the announcement, the baby she was carrying, (John the Baptist), leaped in her womb due to joy.


I.   Mary Magnifies the Lord

Luke 1:46  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

Luke 1:47  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Luke 1:48  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

After Elisabeth finished speaking, Mary opened her mouth to praise the Lord in a beautiful psalm which compares favorably with those written by divine inspiration by David, the Psalmist and King of Israel.   Since all words recorded in the word of God are inspired of God, that means the things she spoke were inspired.  These words are of great value to us not only due to their poetic beauty, but they prove that Mary’s hope of salvation rested upon God himself.   Some groups from Rome had said that she was born without the inbred sin nature and had no need of a redeemer, but Mary herself says “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”   Mary was a good woman, but as we mentioned last week, that is all that she was.  A good woman chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus Christ.   She has no special power with God as some teach, and we are never commanded to pray to Mary for any purpose.   Jesus, to the best of my knowledge, never in the scriptures addressed Mary as ‘mother’, but treated her with love and respect.    As he was dying, he did tell John to behold her, and to take her in as a mother.  

John 19:26  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

John 19:27  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Mary, as good a person as she was, one with a great moral character, still realized that she had need of a Savior.   All of us must come to God as a sinner and turn to Christ by faith to be saved.   Mary was wise in not giving herself credit for any extra ordinary righteousness that lifted her above other people.    In verse 48, Mary recognizes that she will be remembered by all generations as blessed.   She saw herself as a humble handmaiden of the Lord.  She truly was blessed above all other women due to being selected of God to be the physical mother of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Luke 1:49  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

Mary was wise to seeing all that had come upon her as the goodness of the Lord.  She didn’t perceive herself too highly, but rather recognized the Mighty God of Israel and recognized his great holiness.

Prov 16:18  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Prov 16:19  Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Luke 1:50  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

Luke 1:51  He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

Luke 1:52  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

Luke 1:53  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

We can tell by these verses that Mary had been taught the word of God.  These words show how she must have meditated of the condition of her people and the oppression that they endured.   And she knew in her unborn child the promised Messiah was about to deliver Israel from their affliction.   He would bring judgment to their Gentile oppressors.  God’s mercy truly is on those that fear him from generation to generation.   We all need the mercy of God.   God honors those who pray and seek him with a humble heart.

Luke 18:13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Luke 18:14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


God has done great things for us.   In verse 51 he has showed us strength with his arm and scattered the proud.  In Verse 52 he hath put down the mighty and exalted those of low degree.   He has also filled the hungry with good thing, but has sent the rich away empty.

Mary sings, “He hath shewed strength with his arm.” In Isaiah 53:1 the prophet Isaiah said, “… to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” Then Isaiah begins immediately to reveal the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. God has shown the strength of His arm and revealed His power and love in the salvation He has given to mankind.  [i]

Luke 1:54  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

Luke 1:55  As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

God has truly been with the nation of Israel and loved and protected it through the generations.  Today they are still seeking the Messiah, but one day they will see Jesus as the true Son of God that He is.  And the bible says that the nation will be reborn as in a day.   God spake many promises to the forefathers like Abraham, and these promises will be kept.  God never goes back on His Word.   As we studied last week, one day, and I don’t think it will be many weeks from now, Jesus will return and take us out of this world.   Things will be in place then for the beginning of the seven years of tribulation.  After that, Christ will then sit on that physical throne of David there in Jerusalem and will rule this world during the Millennial Reign of Christ.

Luke 1:56  And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

From verse 56, we can see that Mary stayed with Elisabeth for about 3 months and then returned home.  We know from last week’s lesson that Elisabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy when she came to visit.   It was now time for Elisabeth to bring forth her son, and as promised of the Lord, the boy is born. 

II.  The Birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:57  Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son

Luke 1:58  And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had showed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.

As always, things come to pass as God promises.  John the Baptist is born just as the angel had told Zacharias and Elisabeth nine months earlier.   The neighbors and relatives rejoice at the boy’s birth.    Even they had heard about how God had showed great mercy upon Elisabeth and they rejoice with her.   She was well past the age of bearing a child, but God can do what seems impossible to man.

Luke 1:59  And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

Luke 1:60  And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.

Luke 1:61  And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.

As commanded in the law, the parents bring John to be circumcised on the eighth day at the temple.  This commandment was given to Abraham many years prior to John the Baptist’s birth.  

Genesis 17:12  And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.  [ii]

The family was already calling the new son Zacharias after his father.  They did not know that God had already given this child a name when the angel appeared to Zacharias in the temple.   Elisabeth told them “NOT SO; but he shall be called John.”   They argued that no one in the family had ever been so named.  

Luke 1:62  And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.

Luke 1:63  And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.

Luke 1:64  And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.

Zacharias did not hesitate about letting them know what the child’s name would be.  He tells them to bring a writing table, and he wrote down the name John.   There was no question about what his name was to be, since he had received instructions from God.   Apparently, years before this it had been in God’s plan that a man named John the Baptist would come in the spirit of Elijah and prepare a people for the Lord.   Unbelief had closed Zacharias’ mouth, and now, by faith, his tongue is loosed.  Unbelief had made him dumb, and now faith enabled him to speak and to praise God.

J. Vernon McGee said this about the naming of John.

Since he could not speak, he wrote for them, “His name is John.” He had already been named by God. Those present marveled at the name.

After this, Zacharias was able to speak again, and he immediately began to sing praises to God. Although he did not have much faith, when the baby was born he could rejoice in God. Again, the lack of faith displayed by Zacharias is a quality many of us have. When God hears and answers prayer, we really get up and rejoice. I sometimes think that the reason God answers prayer for some of us weaker saints is so that we will have something to rejoice about. As a rule, weaker saints do not do much rejoicing. The stronger saints, with more faith, rejoice in all circumstances.  [iii]

Luke 1:65  And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.

Luke 1:66  And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

Due to Zacharias being able to speak again and rejoice to the Lord, it says the people were afraid and fear come on all that dwelt round about them.   People knew that something very strange and mysterious was involved with the birth of John the Baptist.   They wondered what manner of child this would be since they could clearly see the hand of the Lord in his birth and his name.

III.  The Prophecy of Zacharias

Luke 1:67  And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

Luke 1:68  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

Luke 1:69  And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

The Holy Ghost comes upon Zacharias and filled him and he began to prophesy.  Because of Zacharias’ faith, both enables him to speak of the things which are not, as though they are.  “God has visited and redeemed his people.”  At this time, Israel had not yet been redeemed, but Zacharias is certain that since his promise had been fulfilled in regard to the birth of this child, that God would certainly provide redemption though the coming Savior.   Zacharias points out that the horn of salvation will come from the house of David.

Luke 1:70  As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

Luke 1:71  That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

Luke 1:72  To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

Luke 1:73  The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

Luke 1:74  That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

Luke 1:75  In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

Zacharias realized that these great promises had been declared by the prophets down through the years.  From the garden of Eden, God has promised that a Savior would come.  And now he was about to appear.   God told Abraham that “In thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed.”    He was now confident that in his day, Zacharias and the nation of Israel would see this fulfillment.  Over 1900 years have passed, and the people of Israel today suffer perhaps more from their enemies that ever before in earlier ages.   If you just take a quick look, you might think God’s promise has failed.   But just as all other promises, this one will come to pass.  Jesus will soon come back the second time, and then the remainder of things will be fulfilled.  Nothing is wrong with the Word of God, and no one has to ‘interpret it’ to their private interpretation for us.  It is clear what God said and he meant what he said.

2 Pet 1:19  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

2 Pet 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

2 Pet 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Luke 1:76  And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

Luke 1:77  To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,

Luke 1:78  Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

Luke 1:79  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1:80  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.

Zacharias now prophesies of what John the Baptist will do when he comes on the scene.  He will be called a prophet of the Highest.   He will give them the knowledge of salvation and remission of their sins.   Over in Malachi, we are told about the ministry of John.

Mal 3:1  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

John was a chosen vessel of the Lord, and he grew and waxed strong in spirit.  And the day would soon come to proclaim the Gospel there in the desert and wilderness.

Mat 3:1  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

Mat 3:2  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mat 3:3  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Mat 3:4  And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

Mat 3:5  Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

Mat 3:6  And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Matthew Henry said this about John the Baptist:

1. Of his eminence as to the inward man: The child grew in the capacities of his mind, much more than other children; so that he waxed strong in the spirit; had a strong judgment and strong resolution. Reason and conscience (both which are the candle of the Lord) were so strong in him that he had the inferior faculties of appetite and passion in complete subjection betimes. By this it appeared that he was betimes filled with the Holy Ghost; for those that are strong in the Lord are strong in spirit.

2. Of his obscurity as to the outward man: He was in the deserts; not that he lived a hermit; cut off from the society of men. No, we have reason to think that he went up to Jerusalem at the feasts, and frequented the synagogues on the sabbath day, but his constant residence was in some of those scattered houses that were in the wilderness of Zuph or Maon, which we read of in the story of David. There he spent most of his time, in contemplation and devotion, and had not his education in the schools, or at the feet of the rabbin. Note, Many a one is qualified for great usefulness, who yet is buried alive; and many are so long buried who are designed, and are thereby in the fitting, for so much greater usefulness at last; as John Baptist, who was in the desert only till the day of his showing to Israel, when he was in the thirtieth year of his age. Note, There is a time fixed for the showing of those favours to Israel which are reserved; the vision of them is for an appointed time, and at the end it shall speak, and shall not lie.   [iv]


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[ii]The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

[iii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[iv]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.