45 Luke 1 57 80 Commentary

Luke 15780 Grace Church Blog
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Welcome to our commentary on Luke 1:57-80. In this passage, we witness the birth of John the Baptist and the prophecy spoken by his father, Zechariah. This powerful section of the Gospel of Luke is filled with rich symbolism, significant historical context, and profound theological insights. Join us as we dive deep into the text and explore its meaning and relevance for us today.

Birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-66)

The Joyous Occasion

The birth of a child is always a cause for celebration, and John's arrival was no exception. After Elizabeth gave birth, her relatives and neighbors shared in her joy and rejoiced with her. This moment marked the fulfillment of God's promise to Zechariah and Elizabeth, who had been barren for many years.

The Naming Controversy

When it came time to name the baby, the people assumed he would be named after his father, Zechariah. However, Elizabeth insisted that his name would be John, as instructed by the angel Gabriel. This caused confusion and disbelief among the crowd, as it was customary to name a child after a family member. Zechariah confirmed Elizabeth's choice by writing on a tablet, "His name is John," and immediately his ability to speak was restored.

Divine Confirmation

The naming of John was not a mere coincidence or a random choice. It was divinely ordained. Zechariah's obedience to the angel's instruction was a testament to his faith and trust in God. The restoration of Zechariah's speech served as a miraculous sign to the people, confirming that God's hand was upon this child and his mission.

The Prophecy of Zechariah (Luke 1:67-80)

The Filled with the Holy Spirit

As Zechariah's speech was restored, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy. This was a significant moment, as it signified Zechariah's anointing and empowerment by God to speak forth His divine message. The words that flowed from Zechariah's mouth were inspired by the Spirit and carried great authority and weight.

The Song of Zechariah

Zechariah's prophecy is often referred to as the "Benedictus" or the "Song of Zechariah." This poetic and profound hymn of praise is a declaration of God's faithfulness, salvation, and mercy. It encompasses both the present and the future, speaking of the redemption that is to come through the Messiah, who will bring light to those who dwell in darkness and guide our feet into the way of peace.

The Role of John the Baptist

Within Zechariah's prophecy, he also speaks about the role that John the Baptist will play in preparing the way for the Lord. He describes John as a prophet who will go before the Messiah, making His paths straight and proclaiming the forgiveness of sins. This aligns with the prophecies from the Old Testament, specifically Isaiah 40:3, which foretold the coming of a voice crying out in the wilderness.

Symbolism and Themes

The Miracle of Birth

The birth of John the Baptist, like the birth of Jesus, is a miraculous event. Both conceptions were announced by angels, and both births brought great joy and hope to those involved. This emphasizes the supernatural nature of their missions and highlights the fulfillment of God's promises throughout history.

The Name "John"

The name "John" itself carries significant meaning. In Hebrew, it means "God is gracious." This name reflects the mercy and favor of God, which is demonstrated through the birth of John and ultimately through the coming of Jesus. It reminds us that God's grace is freely given and available to all who believe.

The Role of the Holy Spirit

Throughout this passage, we see the prominent role of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who fills Zechariah, enabling him to prophesy. It is the Spirit who empowers John the Baptist for his ministry. This highlights the essential work of the Spirit in the lives of believers, guiding, empowering, and equipping them for their own unique callings.

Preparation for the Messiah

One of the central themes in this passage is the preparation for the coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist is portrayed as the one who will prepare the way for Jesus, making the paths straight and calling people to repentance. This reminds us of the importance of preparing our hearts and lives for the arrival of Christ, both in His first coming and His second coming.

Application and Relevance

The Power of Obedience

Zechariah's obedience to the angel's instruction to name his son John is a powerful reminder of the importance of obedience to God's Word. Even when the choice seems unconventional or goes against societal expectations, following God's leading brings about His purposes and blessings in our lives.

The Call to Proclaim

Just as John the Baptist was called to proclaim the coming of the Messiah, we are also called to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. Zechariah's prophecy serves as a reminder of the urgency and importance of this mission, as we have the opportunity to bring light and peace to a world in need.

The Assurance of God's Faithfulness

Zechariah's prophecy is filled with declarations of God's faithfulness and salvation. It reminds us that in the midst of uncertainty and darkness, God remains steadfast and true to His promises. We can find comfort and hope in knowing that our God is faithful and will fulfill His purposes in our lives.

The Need for Repentance

John the Baptist's role as a herald of repentance is a vital reminder of our constant need for repentance and forgiveness. In a world that often downplays the seriousness of sin, John's message calls us to examine our hearts, turn away from sin, and embrace the forgiveness and new life found in Jesus Christ.


The birth of John the Baptist and the prophecy of Zechariah hold great significance in the Gospel narrative. They remind us of God's faithfulness, the power of obedience, and the call to prepare the way for the Lord. As we reflect on this passage, may we be inspired to embrace our own calling, share the good news of Jesus, and live lives of repentance and faithfulness.