What is the first chapter of Luke about?
Luke opens his gospel by introducing us to the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus. He begins with a prologue of sorts, explaining his efforts to give ahistorical and accurate account of the life of Jesus to a person named Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4).
Next he tells us about the miraculous prophecy of John the Baptist’s birth through the mouth of an angel (Luke 1:5-24). His father, Zechariah, was one of the priests in the temple and when the angel told him he was going to have a son he did not believe.
Because of his unbelief, the angel shut his mouth until his son would be born. His wife conceived shortly after that. We know John the Baptist’s life will be one used by God because of the familiar pattern of an angel visit, plus Elizabeth is barren. God gives a miracle for John the Baptist to exist.
In between the story of John the Baptist’s birth, Luke inserts the story of how an angel goes to another miracle situation, to a virgin named Mary (Luke 1:25-38). Gabriel tells Mary that she has favored by the Lord and will give birth to God’s son. Unlike Zechariah, Mary believes and asks about God’s ability to impregnate a virgin without human means.
The angel gives Mary an answer that leaves more questions we are still trying to answer to this day. But because of her belief she continues to be blessed. Two miracle births surrounded by an angel delivering the message from God shows that these are some of the most important births since Old Testament times.
This angel also tells Mary that Elizabeth is having a miracle birth in Jerusalem. She decides to travel and spend around three months with Elizabeth until John the Baptist is born (Luke 1:39-45). As soon as she enters the room John the Baptist inside of Elizabeth recognizes the Lord Jesus conceived in Mary.
Mary can’t resist but praise the Lord with a beautiful song (Luke 1:46-56). She talks about how great God is and how wonderful it is that he chose her. She is one of the most humble servants God ever chose.
Then Luke explains how John the Baptist was born and the belief of Zechariah (Luke 1:57-66). It is only when Zechariah writes down that the name of his son is John that his lips are set free and he can speak again. Zechariah praises God and then prophesies about his son’s destiny (Luke 1:67-80).
Lou provides an introduction to his entire Gospel. It begins with miracles and there will be miracles all throughout. John the Baptist is a main character for the beginning of the Gospel. But it’s really about Jesus.