Do any of you like to shop at yard sales, flea markets, or thrift stores? What are some of your best second-hand finds?
What items have you repulsed that were once viewed as used up or useless?
When we buy a used or seemingly worthless item and repurpose it for use again, we are demonstrating the idea of redemption.
The birth of Christ is the story of God redeeming used up and seemingly worthless people. An angel tells a man named Zechariah the good news of God’s redemptive plan.
Luke’s Gospel begins with the account of two unique births, each a part of the unfolding of God’s redemption story.
Read Luke 1:13-17, listening for the details of the angel’s message to Zechariah.
vv. 13-14 Based on the angel’s words, identify Zechariah’s prayer. Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, could not conceive, and they were beyond childbearing years. Zechariah may have been praying this prayer for many years.
- How does the announcement to Zechariah compare to how God might answer our prayers today?
vv. 15-17 Name the details reveled about this promised child. Are there any Old Testament prophecies in these verses?
- How does connecting the birth of John to Old Testament prophecycommunicate the importance of this child?
- How does connecting our prayers to Scripture help us understand how God’s answers relate to His redemptive purposes?
- What prayer have you been asking that seem to go unanswered?
- In what ways do you see God’s plan in the way He has responded to your
God’s ultimate plan for John was to announce the coming of Jesus.
Read Luke 1:18-20, focusing on Zechariah’s doubts and the angels response to those doubts.
- Do you recall others in the Bible besides Zechariah who also expressed doubt?
Zechariah was a righteous man—his walk with God was important to him and his service of God included that of a priest in the Temple—yet he still struggled with doubt.
- How can doubt get in the way of a person enjoying God’s promises?
- What kinds of things cause us to struggle with double in our faith?
- Can a person be devoted to the Lord and still express doubt?
- How can doubt sometimes result in greater faith?
God’s promises are not “wish for” or “hope for” ideas; God has the power to do what He promises to do.
Read Luke 1:21-25.
Zechariah’s time of service in the Temple lasted one week. Name the things that had happened since Zechariah entered the holy place in the Temple to burn the incense. Even though Zechariah had this dramatic and disturbing encounter with the angel Gabriel, he completed his time of service.
- How might continuing toserve have helped him process what Gabriel had revealed to him?
Reread Luke 1:13-25, thinking about the ways we see God’s promises pointing to His redemptive plan in Zechariah’s story.
- What are some of the promises of God that you are still awaiting?
- How does patience and time only enhance the anticipation of the fulfillment of that promise?
- What is one way God has redeemed your life?