Luke 1

Many have taken in hand to set forth; others wrote accounts of the times besides the four evangelists whose histories have come down to us, but these were the only men designated by God for the instruction of the world in all ages in respect to our Lord's life and teachings, and inspired by the Holy Ghost for the right accomplishment of this work.

Among us; among the Christians then living. There are certain truths taught in the holy Scriptures which are most surely believed by all true Christians, and which are made the means of sanctifying their souls.
They; the persons who were eye-witnesses.

From the beginning; the beginning of the things which they described.

Ministers of the word; preachers of the gospel.
To me; Luke, the writer of this gospel.

Having had perfect understanding; literally, having gone to the source, and accurately traced every thing from the first.

Most excellent; a title of honor given to men in office. Ac 23:26 24:3 26:25.

Theophilus; friend of God: supposed to be the name of a distinguished individual of Luke's acquaintance.
Those things; the things pertaining to Christ and the gospel. Course of Abia; the priests were divided into twenty-four courses or classes. 1Ch 24:7-18. Each officiated a week, from one Sabbath to the next. The course of Abia, to which Zacharias belonged, was the eighth in order. 1Ch 24:10. Abia in Greek is the same as Abijah in Hebrew. In order to be righteous in the sight of God, men must not only believe in Christ for salvation, but be disposed to observe all his commandments and ordinances, and to discharge with fidelity their private as well as public duties. His lot was--temple of the Lord; more literally, he was chosen by lot to burn incense going into the temple of the Lord; that is, to go into the temple of the Lord to burn incense. The office of burning incense was esteemed the most honorable of all. It was assigned by lot for each day among the priests of the course, and no person could perform it more than once. Angel of the Lord; it had been about four hundred years since God had sent the Jews a prophet, or made to them any direct revelation. Malachi was the last, and with him the Old Testament revelation closed. As the Messiah was about to appear, divine communications were again opened, and this angel was sent to announce his approach, the birth of his forerunner, and what he would do to "prepare the way of the Lord." John; the meaning of this word is, the grace of the Lord, or Jehovah is gracious. Shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; he was to be under the law of the Nazarites from his birth, like Samson. Jud 16:17; compared with Nu 6:1-6. Go before him; before "the Lord their God."

In the spirit and power of Elias; with the zeal and intrepidity of Elijah, as predicted by Malachi. Mal 4:5.

Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children; see note on Mal 4:6.

Prepared for the Lord; prepared to receive Christ at his coming.
The testimony of God is the highest and most conclusive of all evidence. The disbelief of it exposes men to his righteous displeasure, and deprives them of rich blessings which they might otherwise enjoy. Gabriel; this is composed of two Hebrew words, which mean, God's strong one, or man of God; and is the name of the angel or messenger sent to Daniel to make known to him things concerning the Messiah. Da 8:16; Da 9:21. Beckoned unto them; he showed them by signs that he had seen a vision. Hid herself; lived in retirement and seclusion. To take away my reproach; to have no children was considered among the Jews a reproach, while a family of children was accounted a great blessing. Le 26:9; 1Sa 1:6; Ps 113:9; 128:3. Highly favored; in being chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Troubled--case in her mind; perplexed at such a strange salutation, and wondered what it could mean. Jesus; Jesus, in Greek, is the same as Joshua in Hebrew, and means, The salvation of Jehovah. As God was the immediate author of the human body and soul of Jesus Christ, and as in him the divine nature and the human nature were united, so that "the Word," who "was in the beginning with God," and "was God," "was made flesh and dwelt among us," it was on both accounts proper that he should be called "the Son of God," and also be declared to be "God manifest in the flesh." 1Ti 3:16. The throne of his father David; David was, by God's appointment, the earthly head of his ancient church, and his throne typified the higher mediatorial throne of Christ, who was David's son according to the flesh. The house of Jacob; that is, the church of God, which before Christ's coming consisted of "the house of Jacob" with the proselytes that joined themselves to it, but now includes all who by faith have become the children of Abraham. Ro 4:11-18; Ga 3:7-9. That holy thing; the child whose conception was to be miraculously caused by the Holy Spirit. Whence is this to me; why am I so favored as to be visited by the mother of my Lord? Distinguished favors of God to his people lead them to feel their unworthiness, and render them peculiarly humble and grateful. Blessed is she that believed; Mary, a poor female, on the simple declaration of God, believed things much more strange than those which staggered the faith of Zacharias, the aged priest of the Lord. The virgin Mary found no source of joy in herself. She ascribed all her blessings to the Lord, and rejoiced in him as God her Saviour, while she magnified his grace in so distinguishing her that "all generations should call her blessed." As God is never in the Bible called the Saviour of angels or of holy beings, by calling him her Saviour, Mary acknowledged that she was a sinner, and needed his salvation; and if she needed salvation herself, she cannot save others. Call me blessed; highly favored in having been the mother of Jesus. From these words some have inferred that it is proper to pray to Mary, and pay her divine honors. That this is an error is evident from the manner in which the same phrase in the original Greek is used in other parts of the Bible. They who "endure" afflictions with patience according to the will of God, as did Job, Jas 5:11; the "poor in spirit," "the meek," those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness," and "the pure in heart," Mt 5:2-11, are all called "blessed," the original word being the same. But neither any of these, nor Mary, are to be prayed to, or to receive divine honors. Showed strength; in protecting his people and overcoming their foes. As he spake to our fathers; Ge 12:1-3; 22:16-18. The coming of the Messiah, and the blessings which have followed and will follow, are a fulfilment of the promises made to Abraham and his spiritual seed, true Christians, who are of faith, and with Abraham heirs of the grace of life. Ge 12:3; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Ga 3:16,29. Cousins; relations.

Great mercy; in giving her a son.
Eighth day; after his birth; as was required in the law of Moses. Ge 21:4; Le 12:3. When parents receive their children as the gifts of God, and from their earliest years implore for them the blessings of his grace, they have reason to hope that God will renew their hearts, and so fill them with his Spirit as to fit them for usefulness on earth and for glory in heaven. He shall be called John; probably her husband had informed her what they were to call him, verse, Lu 1:13. Made signs; from this it would seem that he was deaf as well as dumb; otherwise it would not have been necessary to ask him this question by signs. His mouth was opened immediately; the promise of God by Gabriel having been now fully accomplished, verse Lu 1:20. Hand of the Lord; the gracious influence of his Spirit. Horn of salvation; a mighty Saviour, the horn being an emblem of power.

In the house; from the descendants.
Holy prophets; Ge 49:10; De 18:15; Isa 9:6,7; Isa 53:2-12. The more men are acquainted with the Bible, and the more observant they are of providence, the more they will see that one is the fulfilment of the other; and the more abundant and conclusive will appear the evidence that both have one Author, and are conspiring to the promotion of the same great end. Thou, child; John.

Prepare his ways; Isa 40:3; Mal 4:5; Mt 3:3.
Day-spring; the beginning of the glorious light of the gospel Isa 60:1-3. In darkness; the darkness and desolation of sin. Ps 14:1-3; Isa 59:2-14; Ro 3:9-18.

The way of peace; peace of conscience and peace with God. Pr 3:17.
The child; John.

Waxed strong in spirit; increased in wisdom, power, and goodness.

In the deserts; he lived in retirement in the wilderness of Judea. Mt 3:1.

His showing unto Israel; showing himself to be the forerunner of the Messiah, and entering on his public ministry. Mt 3:1-3.
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