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BACK TO THE BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

BACK TO THE BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

study of Luke’s Gospel. Dr. Kroll has separated the book of Luke into four distinct sections, which contain 18 lessons to deepen your understanding of

LUKE

You’ll find many reasons to give Glory to God in the Highest throughout this

Jesus’ earthly ministry and influence the way you glorify God today.

Luke tells his readers how Christ’s earthly life brought glory to the Father. You’ll see how He dealt with the difficult Pharisees and Sadducees and how He responded to His disciples and followers, and you’ll glimpse His compassion for needy, hurting people. As you study the life of Jesus in Luke, you’ll be motivated to become more like Him. WOODROW KROLL is president and Bible teacher for the international media ministry Back to the Bible. As the voice of Back to the Bible radio

GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!

for the Messiah, to Jesus’ miracles, and finally to His death and Resurrection,

and television, he is heard and seen on thousands of stations across the world. He and his wife, Linda, live in Ashland, Nebraska. They have four married children and thirteen grandchildren.

LUKE

From the angels’ announcement of Jesus’ birth to John’s “preparing the way”

BIBLE STUDIES

KROLL

WOODROW KROLL

GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!


Luke: Glory to God in the Highest! Copyright © 2009 by Back to the Bible Published by Crossway Books a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers 1300 Crescent Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, except as provided by USA copyright law. Cover photo: iStock First printing, 2009 Printed in the United States of America Trade paperback ISBN 13: 978-1-4335-0667-3 Trade paperback ISBN 10: 1-4335-0667-X Mobipocket ISBN: 978-1-4335-0669-7 PDF ISBN: 978-1-4335-0668-0 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version®). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All emphases in Scripture quotations have been added by the author. Produced with the assistance of The Livingstone Corporation (www.LivingstoneCorp.com). Project Staff: Neil Wilson

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Table of Contents How to Use This Study. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 THE EARLY YEARS Lesson One: If God Says. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Lesson Two: Glory to God.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Lesson Three: A Voice Crying in the Wilderness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Lesson Four: Trust and Obey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .... . 28 THE GALILEAN MINISTRY Lesson Five: Come Change the World. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Lesson Six: Who Is the Real God?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Lesson Seven: Fear Versus Faith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..52 Lesson Eight: Time for a Reality Check. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 THE JUDEAN MINISTRY Lesson Nine: Do Your Duty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Lesson Ten: Religion or Relationship. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 76 Lesson Eleven: Legalism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Lesson Twelve: Lost and Found. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Lesson Thirteen: Money and Your Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Lesson Fourteen: Signs of the Kingdom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 THE FINAL DAYS Lesson Fifteen: From Jericho to Jerusalem.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..114 Lesson Sixteen: Darkest Before the Dawn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 Lesson Seventeen: The Blessings of Forgiveness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 Lesson Eighteen: He Is Risen Indeed.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..13 7

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How to Use This Study Selected passages of Luke from the ESV are printed before each day’s devotional reading, so that everything you need is in one place. While we recommend reading the Scripture passage before you read the devotional, some have found it helpful to use the devotional as preparation for reading the Scripture. If you are unfamiliar with the English Standard Version (on which this series of studies is based), you might consider reading the included Bible selection, then the devotional, then the passage again from a version that is more familiar to you. This will give you an excellent biblical basis for considering the rest of the lesson. After each devotional, there are three sections designed to help you better understand and apply the lesson’s Scripture passage.

Consider It—Several questions will give you a better understanding of the Scripture passage of the day. These could be used for a small group discussion.

Express It—Suggestions to help you personalize insights from the lesson.

Go Deeper—Throughout this study, you will benefit from seeing how the Book of Luke fits with the rest of the Bible. This additional section will include other passages and insights from Scripture. The Go Deeper section will also allow you to consider some of the implications of the day’s passage for the central theme of the study as well as other key Scripture themes.

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7

Luke: Glory to God in the Highest!

Lesson

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If God Says . . . Seemingly impossible obstacles allow God to prove He is an all-powerful God, the God of the impossible. What God says, He always does.

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Read Luke 1:1–80 Luke 1:1–38 1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

womb. 16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient the wisdom “Fortonothing will of bethe just, to makeimpossible ready for the Lord a people with God” prepared.”

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s

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Key Verse (Luke 1:37).

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25“Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Birth of Jesus Foretold In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name 26

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9 was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

A

n old saying claims: “If something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” Perhaps a similar thought was in Zechariah’s mind the day he got a message from an angel of the Lord. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, were “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments” (Luke 1:6). But both were also “advanced in years,” and they had no children (v. 7). This elderly couple lived in the hill country of Judea. But when we first meet Zechariah, he is in Jerusalem because he was a priest, and it was his turn to serve in the temple. To be a priest Zechariah had to be descended from Jacob’s son, Levi. In fact, he also had to be a direct descendant of a specific son of Levi—Aaron, who was the brother of Moses and the first priest appointed by God (Ex. 28:1). The priests were divided into 24 groups or divisions of 50 each. Zechariah was a priest of the division of Abijah. Each week a new group would assume their duties in the temple. And each day one of them would be chosen by lot to enter the second most sacred place in

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10

Faith is not a mindless leap into the dark. We don’t need signs and wonders to engender faith; we just need a thorough knowledge of what God has said in His Word.

the temple, the Holy Place, to burn incense at the time of the morning and evening sacrifice. (The Holy Place, located just outside the Holy of Holies [the most holy place in the temple], contained three items considered extremely sacred to the Israelites: a lampstand, a table with 12 loaves of bread and an altar for burning incense.) One day the lot fell to Zechariah. As the people prayed outside, “May the merciful God enter the Holy Place and accept with favor the offering of his people,” Zechariah entered the Holy Place to burn the incense on the altar. Can you imagine his excitement to have such a great privilege? But that was nothing compared to what happened next. As he was going about his duties in the Holy Place, suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared at the right side of the altar of incense. From that moment on, Zechariah’s life was never the same. “The angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son’” (Luke 1:13). The heavenly messenger then went on to inform Zechariah that the mission of this child would be to turn the hearts of the people back to God and prepare the way for the Lord. To say that Zechariah was stunned would probably be an understatement. Flabbergasted might be more like it. “‘How shall I know this?’” Zechariah responded. It didn’t take a degree in biology to realize that he and Elizabeth were well beyond the standard age to conceive and bear a child.

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11 The angel’s response was both a sign and a punishment. The angel answered him and said, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time” (vv. 19–20). Fast forward six months and the same angel appeared to a young Jewish maiden, Mary, with another startling announcement, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (v. 31). Mary replied, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” How was Mary’s response different from Zechariah’s? Why was Zechariah punished for his question while Mary’s question was permitted? As a priest, Zechariah knew his Bible thoroughly. He certainly would have been familiar with the Old Testament story of Abraham and Sarah, another couple who conceived a child in their old age. So, he should have known that Gabriel was speaking the truth. On the other hand, in Mary’s defense, no one ever before and no one ever again will conceive a child apart from a human father. God is always ready to prove the impossible. Faith is not a mindless leap into the dark. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” God has given us the Bible to be the basis for our faith. We don’t need signs and wonders to engender faith; we just need a thorough knowledge of what God has said in His Word. Make sure you take time to read and study your Bible. It’s through His Word that God reveals His glorious character. That’s where we discover that He is the God of the impossible. Impossible for an elderly couple to conceive? Impossible for a virgin to bring forth a child? Not with God. Jeremiah 32:27 says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Rejoice today that you have a God who is not stumped by the impossible. It’s all part of His glory.

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12

Go Deeper God gave His final Old Testament revelation to the prophet Malachi, saying: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” (Mal. 4:5). By the time John the Baptist was born, God had not spoken to His Chosen People, Israel, for four hundred years. That’s a long time! It’s almost twice as long as the United States has been a nation. During that time Israel was under the influence of Persia, Greece, and finally, Rome. Jewish religious groups such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes were formed in the years between the Old and New Testaments. The scribes became the official interpreters of Jewish Law. But from the Living God came nothing but silence.

Jesus told His disciples that John the Baptist fulfilled Malachi’s prophecy (Matt. 17:10–13). He was the forerunner and herald of the Savior (Mark 1:3,7–8). Like Jesus, John was rejected and killed (Mark 6:14–29), but the impact of his ministry lasted long after his death. All four Gospels refer to him. Without John, Israel would have been even less prepared for the Messiah’s coming. At Jesus’ birth, shepherds were astounded by the angels’ words: “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). But it was John the Baptist who years later had both the privilege and responsibility of introducing this “Glory of God” to the people (Luke 3:15–22).

Express It Thank God that He is the God of the impossible. If you have a situation that seems impossible, tell God about it. Let Him know that you believe He is able to accomplish all things because of what He did in the lives of Elizabeth and Zechariah and in the lives of Mary and Joseph. Then look back at your own past problems. Were there difficulties that looked, at the time, like no solution would ever be found? Remind yourself how God worked those problems out by making a chart with dates and solutions noted.

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Consider It As you read Luke 1:1–80, consider these questions: 1) What is Luke’s goal in writing this Gospel? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 2) What kind of people were Zechariah and Elizabeth? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 3) What do these verses tell us about the angel who visited Zechariah? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 4) How did the angel describe the son whom God promised to Zechariah and Elizabeth? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 5) Whose spirit and power was to characterize the child? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 6) How did Elizabeth respond to the startling news? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 7) How do you respond when God answers a long-requested prayer? _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

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BACK TO THE BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

BACK TO THE BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

study of Luke’s Gospel. Dr. Kroll has separated the book of Luke into four distinct sections, which contain 18 lessons to deepen your understanding of

LUKE

You’ll find many reasons to give Glory to God in the Highest throughout this

Jesus’ earthly ministry and influence the way you glorify God today.

Luke tells his readers how Christ’s earthly life brought glory to the Father. You’ll see how He dealt with the difficult Pharisees and Sadducees and how He responded to His disciples and followers, and you’ll glimpse His compassion for needy, hurting people. As you study the life of Jesus in Luke, you’ll be motivated to become more like Him. WOODROW KROLL is president and Bible teacher for the international media ministry Back to the Bible. As the voice of Back to the Bible radio

GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!

for the Messiah, to Jesus’ miracles, and finally to His death and Resurrection,

and television, he is heard and seen on thousands of stations across the world. He and his wife, Linda, live in Ashland, Nebraska. They have four married children and thirteen grandchildren.

LUKE

From the angels’ announcement of Jesus’ birth to John’s “preparing the way”

BIBLE STUDIES

KROLL

WOODROW KROLL

GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!

Luke  

In this new series volume, Back to the Bible's president and senior teacher deftly navigates Luke's carefully researched account of the life...