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3: The Births of John and Jesus (Lk 1:57-2:20)
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3: The Births of John and Jesus (Lk 1:57-2:20)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

The angel’s announcements, studied in the previous lesson, are now fulfilled. As we will see in this and the next lesson, Luke uses the same parallel structure to present the births of John and Jesus, the words of praise that follow their births, and their maturing years. But now Luke places more emphasis on the birth of Jesus Christ by giving a more detailed account of the events surrounding His birth.

B.     Key Verse

            “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (2:10-11).

C.     Did You Know…?

1.      The song of Zacharias (1:68-79) is called the Benedictus, derived from the first word Benedictus (“Blessed”) in the Latin Vulgate translation.

2.      Horn (1:69): a common OT metaphor for power because of the great strength of the horned animals of the Near East.3/840

3.      Caesar Augustus (2:1): The first and (according to many) greatest Roman emperor (31 b.c.-A.D.14). Having replaced the republic with an imperial form of government, he expanded the empire to include the entire Mediterranean world, established the famed Pax Romana (“Roman Peace”) and ushered in the golden age of Roman literature and architecture. Augustus (which means “exalted”) was a title voted to him by the Roman senate in 27 b.c.5/1538

4.      Quirinius (2:2): This official was possibly in office for two terms, first 6-4 b.c. and then A.D. 6-9. A census is associated with each term. This is the first; Ac 5:37 refers to the second.5/1538

5.      The hymn of praise by the angels in 2:14 is known as Gloria in Excelsis Deo (“Glory to God in the Highest”), a name derived from the first words of the Latin Vulgate translation.

II.    Observation

A.     Outline






B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. Segment Analysis

A.     1:57-66

1. What is the origin and meaning of circumcision?

2. Note the precise timing of the miracle in 64. What kind of impact did the miracle have

2a. on Zacharias?

2b. on the people?

2c. How did this miracle accomplish God’s purpose?

B.     1:67-79

3. Who is the main subject of Zacharias’ song?

4. Explain John’s mission according to the song.

5. Explain the meaning of salvation based on these verses in Zacharias’ song:

5a. 71

5b. 74-75

5c. 77

5d. 78-79

C.     1:80

6a. What does it mean that John became strong in spirit?

6b. What was John’s life like in the deserts? (cf. Mk 1:6)

6c. Why do you think John lived in the deserts?

6d. What lessons can we learn from John’s life?

D.     2:1-7

7. How did the census accomplish God’s plan? (cf. Mic 5:2)

8. What can we learn about our Savior from His birth in a manger?

E.     2:8-20

9. Why do you think God chose to announce the good tidings to the shepherds? 

10. What kind of peace does Christ bring to those on whom God’s favor rests? (14)

11a. How did the shepherds respond to the angel’s announcement? 

11b. What did they do after visiting Jesus in Bethlehem?

11c. What lessons can we learn from the shepherds?

12. What can we learn from Mary’s reaction (19; cf 1:29; 2:51)?

13. Why shouldn’t we celebrate the birthday of Christ?


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