Day 1 of 25

Now is the Time: Luke - Adult


Luke 1.5-20

An Angel Tells about the Birth of John

5 When Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest by the name of Zechariah from the priestly group of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth was from the family of Aaron.6Both of them were good people and pleased the Lord God by obeying all that he had commanded.7But they did not have children. Elizabeth could not have any, and both Zechariah and Elizabeth were already old.

8One day Zechariah's group of priests were on duty, and he was serving God as a priest.9According to the custom of the priests, he had been chosen to go into the Lord's temple that day and to burn incense,10while the people stood outside praying.

11All at once an angel from the Lord appeared to Zechariah at the right side of the altar.12Zechariah was confused and afraid when he saw the angel.13But the angel told him:

Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayers. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you must name him John.14His birth will make you very happy, and many people will be glad.15 Your son will be a great servant of the Lord. He must never drink wine or beer, and the power of the Holy Spirit will be with him from the time he is born.

16John will lead many people in Israel to turn back to the Lord their God.17 He will go ahead of the Lord with the same power and spirit that Elijah had. And because of John, parents will be more thoughtful of their children. And people who now disobey God will begin to think as they ought to. This is how John will get people ready for the Lord.

18Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know this is going to happen? My wife and I are both very old.”

19 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel, God's servant, and I was sent to tell you this good news.20You have not believed what I have said. So you will not be able to say a thing until all this happens. But everything will take place when it is supposed to.”

Luke 1.26-56

An Angel Tells about the Birth of Jesus

26One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee27 with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David.28The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.”

29Mary was confused by the angel's words and wondered what they meant.30Then the angel told Mary, “Don't be afraid! God is pleased with you,31 and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus.32 He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.33He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

34Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not even married!”

35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God's power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God.36Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son.37 Nothing is impossible for God!”

38Mary said, “I am the Lord's servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea.40She went into Zechariah's home, where she greeted Elizabeth.41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, her baby moved within her.

The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth.42 Then in a loud voice she said to Mary:

God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have.43Why should the mother of my Lord come to me?44As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me.45The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise.

Mary's Song of Praise

46 Mary said:

With all my heart

I praise the Lord,

47and I am glad

because of God my Savior.

48God cares for me,

his humble servant.

From now on,

all people will say

God has blessed me.

49God All-Powerful has done

great things for me,

and his name is holy.

50He always shows mercy

to everyone

who worships him.

51The Lord has used

his powerful arm

to scatter those

who are proud.

52 God drags strong rulers

from their thrones

and puts humble people

in places of power.

53God gives the hungry

good things to eat,

and sends the rich away

with nothing.

54God helps his servant Israel

and is always merciful

to his people.

55 The Lord made this promise

to our ancestors,

to Abraham and his family

forever!

56Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she went back home.

Luke 1.67-80

Zechariah Praises the Lord

67The Holy Spirit came upon Zechariah, and he began to speak:

68Praise the Lord,

the God of Israel!

He has come

to save his people.

69Our God has given us

a mighty Savior

from the family

of David his servant.

70Long ago the Lord promised

by the words

of his holy prophets

71to save us from our enemies

and from everyone

who hates us.

72God said he would be kind

to our people and keep

his sacred promise.

73He told our ancestor Abraham

74that he would rescue us

from our enemies.

Then we could serve him

without fear,

75by being holy and good

as long as we live.

76 You, my son, will be called

the prophet of God Most High.

You will go ahead of the Lord

to get everything ready

for him.

77You will tell his people

that they can be saved

when their sins

are forgiven.

78God's love and kindness

will shine upon us

like the sun that rises

in the sky.

79 On us who live

in the dark shadow

of death

this light will shine

to guide us

into a life of peace.

80As John grew up, God's Spirit gave him great power. John lived in the desert until the time he was sent to the people of Israel.

DAY 1: SINGING GOD'S MERCY AND KINDNESS

PRAY

Jesus, awaken my heart to receive your infinite mercy and overflowing kindness.

READ

Luke 1.5-20, 26-56, 67-80

Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, visits Zechariah, an aged priest. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, had faithfully served and obeyed God for years, but they did not have any children. It was Zechariah’s time to burn incense in the temple, a once-in-a-lifetime event that happened by lot. The angel gave Zechariah the incredible news that he and Elizabeth would have a son, John. The priest is skeptical about the angelic announcement and says, “How will I know this is going to happen? My wife and I are both very old” (v. 18). Because of his unbelief, God makes Zechariah unable to speak until after the baby’s birth.

Gabriel also visits Mary, an unmarried teenager, with astounding news. She is going to have a baby who will be called “the Son of God Most High” (v. 32). In astonishment, Mary asks the angel, “How can this happen? I am not even married!” (v. 34). She receives Gabriel’s explanation and then humbly says, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said” (v. 38). Mary’s submission is the true mark of a disciple.

Later, both Mary and Zechariah respond in song to what God has done for them. Their songs focus on God’s mercy and kindness as God prepares to send Jesus into the world. Mary sings, “God helps his servant Israel and is always merciful to his people. The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his family forever!” (v. 54, 55). While Zechariah sings, “God said he would be kind to our people and keep his sacred promise” (v. 72).

Mary and Zechariah—two very different people, yet they find themselves singing praises for God’s mercy which endures to all generations.

REFLECT

Have you experienced God’s mercy and kindness even though you know you did not deserve it? What incredible thing has God done in your life?

RESPOND

Write your own song of worship to God in response to God’s mercy toward you.

Jesus, I worship you. Thank you for bringing us your mercy and kindness.