Before I started Luke I wanted to mention something. As we were finishing Mark I was a little bit concerned that most of what was in Mark was a repeat of stuff that was in Matthew. That was fine, but I thought it might get too repetitive to do all 4 gospels if they would all be basically the same thing over and over. This morning I found a wikipedia page that says this will not be the case. It seems that only 6% of Mark was new compared to Matthew, on the other hand, 35% of Luke will be new compared to Matthew and Mark. And apparently John is a fair bit different than all three of these. Just thought I'd mention that in case anyone following along is having the same concerns I was having. On with the show.
Dedication to Theophilus
The writer of this seems to be writing for someone named Theophilus.
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth wanted a child but she was barren. Zechariah was visited by an angel who said she would get pregnant and they would name the baby John. The child may not drink wine and he will be filled with the holy spirit from the womb.
Birth of Jesus Foretold
The angel then went to Mary, said she would carry a son and call him Jesus. She asked how this could be since she is a virgin, he said he will be conceived by the holy spirit and mentions that her relative Elizabeth is at 6 months with her baby, nothing is impossible with the God.
Interesting that John the Baptist is related to Jesus.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
Mary went to see Elizabeth, and when she greeted Elizabeth the baby inside her leaped and Elizabeth was filled with the holy spirit. Elizabeth is very grateful that Mary came to see her.
Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat
This section is poetry, which I am terrible at, so if I miss the point here please forgive me
Mary sings a song about how awesome God is. God has done great things for her. He has mercy for people who fear him. He brings the mighty and proud off of their thrones and helps those who are humble. He helps the hungry and turns away the rich.
The Birth of John the Baptist
Elizabeth gave birth and everyone rejoiced. After 8 days neighbors and relatives came to circumcise the child and they all assumed he would be named Zechariah after his father. But Elizabeth said that he would be called John instead. The crowd was surprised because no one in the family was named John and they asked the father, he confirmed that the boy was named John.
It is unclear based on the reading if after 8 days the baby was just being named then, or if it was just at this time that the friends and family learned the name. It would be interesting to me if it wasn't until a week after birth that the child was named. I am sure that I have read that there were places and times where babies are not named right away because infant mortality was so high.
Zechariah was filled with the holy spirit and gave the following prophecy:
God cares a lot about Israel and will save it's people from those who hate them. He will show mercy to those who follow the covenant. Being delivered from our enemies we will serve God. The child will be a prophet. John will go forward to share knowledge of the lord. This will give light to those who are in darkness. The child grew strong in spirit.
[edit- typo fix]