follows the form customary in the literature of the period (compare Acts 1.1–5
Both this Gospel and Acts are dedicated to an unknown Theophilus (lit. “lover of God”), perhaps a Roman official (v. 3
, your excellency;
see Acts 23.26
). Many perhaps should be understood as “several” writers.
An orderly account may imply some arrangement of materials other than a strictly chronological order.
There were twenty-four divisions of the priesthood, to whom the privilege of temple service fell by rotation (v. 8
Compare Gen. 17.15–18.15
To offer the (morning or evening) incense was a highly cherished honor.
see vv. 60, 63 n.
There are OT provisions against wine and strong drink for priests (Lev. 10.8–11
) and Nazirites (Num. 6.1–21
The words spirit and power of Elijah and allusions to Mal. 3.1; 4.5–6
suggest a near identification of the Baptist and Elijah (see Matt. 11.14; 17.10–13
) not characteristic of Lk. outside this chapter.
Gabriel (Dan. 8.16–17; 9.21–22
) was regarded as the angel of highest rank, especially in the noncanonical book of 1 Enoch.
Disgrace: the shame associated with barrenness; see 1 Sam. 1.1–20; Ps. 113.9
(see Matt. 1.18–25
). As in Matt., the story speaks of a miraculous birth (vv. 34–35
), stresses Joseph's Davidic descent (vv. 27, 32
), and emphasizes the child's names or titles (vv. 31, 32, 35
Son of the Most High: a title for the royal Messiah (see Matt. 1.1 n.
) as is shown by the words, throne of his ancestor David (1 Chr. 17.7–14; Isa. 11.1–10
Not physical impregnation by a divine being, but a miraculous generation of life through the Spirit is meant.
Luke, as here, frequently uses the title Lord for Jesus; but in vv. 45–46
it refers to God.
The “Magnificat” reads like a very old hymn celebrating God's goodness to Israel (vv. 54–55
); compare 1 Sam. 2.1–10
Circumcision on the eighth day was prescribed in the Law (Lev. 12.3; Lk. 2.21
The emphasis shows that the meaning of the name John (“God is gracious”) is important.
celebrates the coming of the royal Messiah (v. 69
), the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (vv. 73–75
), and John's Elijah-like commission (vv. 76–77; Mal. 3.1; Isa. 40.3; see v. 17 n.
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