Luke 1:5-25                     CVCC Handout                              28 November 2021

The Promised Forerunner

                 1st Sunday of Advent:                   


            A lesser known, yet important element of the Christmas story is the account of the promise and birth of John the Baptist, who came as a prophet in the spirit and power of Elijah.


I. Zachariah the Childless Priest (vv. 5-10).

A. Zacharias a priest, his wife was from the daughters of Aaron. He and Elizabeth were (vv. 5-7):

    1. Righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in the requirements of the Lord.
    2. They were childless because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

B. Zacharias was performing his priestly service before God (vv. 8-10; Pr. 16:33).

    1. In the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office.
    2. He was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
    3. The whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of incense offering.

II. An Angel of the Lord Brought Promise of a Remarkable Son (vv. 11-17; Lk. 3:2-8).

A. And an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias standing by the altar of incense (vv. 11-12).

    1. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel and fear gripped him.
    2. But the angel said to him (vv. 13-14): Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.
    3. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

B. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord (vv. 15-16; Lk. 7:28; Jn. 1:6-8, 19-36).

– He will drink no wine or liquor; he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.

C. It is he who will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah (v. 17; Mal. 3:1; 4:5-6).

– To turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Is. 40:3-5).

III. Zachariah Doubted the Word of the Lord (vv. 18-23).

A. He asked how he would know this for certain? (v. 13).

B. He thought he had a good reason to doubt (Gen. 17:15-19; 18:9-14; 21:1-3).

                        – For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.

C. The angel gave him strong evidence (vv. 19-20).

    1. He said: “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God.”
    2. “And I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.”
    3. You shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place.
    4. Because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.

D. Zacharias was mute for some nine months.

    1. He tried to communicate to the people without speaking.
    2. When his priestly service was ended, he went back home.

IV. God Did What He Promised (vv. 24-25, 39-45, 57-66).

A. Elizabeth became pregnant (vv. 24-25). She remained in seclusion for five months and she acknowledged God’s favor in removing her disgrace.

B. After 6 months Mary visited Elizabeth for about three months (vv. 39-45, 56). When she heard Mary’s greeting, John leaped in her womb for joy, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

C. John was born (vv. 57-66). They argued with Elizabeth over his name; Zacharias’s wrote, “His name is John.” Then his ability to speak returned.


            What is “the too good to be true” item in your prayer life?  Do you believe God can do the impossible?  As followers of Jesus we, like John have the Holy Spirit and so we are to witness to His identity as God and Savior and Lord. Let is not neglect this mission entrusted to us.