Visit La Jolla Lutheran Church
Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
7111 La Jolla Blvd in beautiful La Jolla, CA
14 miles north of downtown San Diego, CA

Home

Directions

Stay up to date. Get our weekly newsletter.
Email:

Sign up for our newsletter in the box at the upper right and you'll get these great Bible Studies delivered to you once a week on Monday afternoon.


(If you want to print this Bible Study, try our PDF version

Be faithful like Hannah and Elizabeth

The tale of Elizabeth continues our Advent study of women important in the coming of the Messiah. The time is near, though a few miracles and revelations remain before the big day. Read the entire chapter of Luke 1 and then consider the events that bring together two women who would change the world.

Monday Luke 1:5-7 (NRSV)
In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Elizabeth was not only wife of a priest, cousin of the mother of our Lord, and mother herself to John the Baptist, she was in her own right of the priestly class, her father a priest and descendent from Aaron. She was, as we might say, pretty well connected. She and her husband, Zechariah, were role models of piety and fealty to God. Yet, Elizabeth is disgraced among her people because she could not bear a child.

How does Elizabeth deal with her disgrace?

How does God deal with her disgrace?

Have you ever been disgraced or in disfavor among your people, and how did you deal with it, and what happened?

Tuesday Luke 1:11-14 and 18-20 (NRSV)
Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing to the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”

The first of the miracles of Advent, which Zechariah questions. Gabriel will be busy again, just a few months later, when he appears to Mary (1:26-38).

Why do you think Zechariah doubted the angel’s prophecy, whereas Mary did not, later in the story?

Have you had an experience similar to Zechariah’s, where you doubted when (or maybe whether) God spoke to you?

Wednesday Luke 1:24-25 (NRSV)
After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, "This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people."

God has done much more than take away Elizabeth's disgrace. She will bear the one who makes way for the Lord. As Ruth in last week’s study, Elizabeth is not surprised by God’s favor. She knows what to do with it; she will put it to good use. Though, she must have said, “At last!”

Think of a time when you were “favored.” Were you surprised?

What did you do with the favor?

Thursday Luke 1:39-45 (NRSV)
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

In some Christian traditions, Mary’s coming to Elizabeth is celebrated as the “feast of visitation.” Visitation plays an important role in God’s working in the world, signaling God’s coming to deliver what’s due his people. Jehovah visits the sons of Israel in Exodus (3-4) and the exiles in Babylon in Jeremiah (29). Jesus, in his ministry, visits saints and sinners to deliver God’s will and way. In this story, Mary visits Elizabeth with “God on board” to bless and sanctify the yet-to-be-born baby, John.


Can you think of stories of “visitation” in your experience and in your life?

In what appearance did God arrive?

What was God bringing?

Friday Luke 1:39-45 (NRSV)
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

These verses also introduce the Holy Spirit into the Jesus story. Mary has been told of Elizabeth’s good news. But why did she choose to walk over 100 miles over dusty road for four or five days to deliver God, in person, to Elizabeth and John?

And Elizabeth had not been told that Mary was with child. Yet she knew, and she rejoiced with Mary, as the mother of her Lord.

Have you ever known something that you have not been told, say, about a family member or close friend? Some good news, maybe? Something they needed?

How did this happen?

Saturday Luke 1:59-66 (NRSV)
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, "No; he is to be called John." They said to her, "None of your relatives has this name." Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, "What then will this child become?" For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

Elizabeth speaks out in a way that would have been unaccustomed at the time. She defied tradition to claim the prophecy and the blessing that God has bestowed on her son. Zechariah, appearing a bit foolish at this point as a priest who could not speak, gave the crowd the same answer, “John.” And he was given back his voice, and his first words were to praise God

Would it have made a difference if the child was named “Zechariah,” rather than “John?” What was at stake?

Think of a time when you defied tradition. What was your inspiration?

What was the result?

Lord, thank you for story of Elizabeth and the encouragement to do important things with your favors. Amen

How To Be A Christian (in four easy steps)
1) Talk to God about what’s up.
2) Do whatever God tells you.
3) If you don’t hear anything specific, do anything Jesus told his followers to do.*
4) Repeat.

*Jesus told his followers lots of things, but here’s a reminder of the basics: 1) Love God with everything you’ve got. 2) Love those you see in need in the same measure as you love yourself. (Ways Jesus taught his followers to love people were to announce good news to the poor, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, and raise the dead.)

What needs of the world to you want to talk to God about?

What are you hearing God tell you?

When will you take action?


Check out other Bible Studies and videos for 2013 or messages for 2012 or messages for 2011.


La Jolla Lutheran Church is a member of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, a fast-growing association of churches that believe the Bible. Other LCMC churches in the San Diego area include Penasquitos Lutheran Church at 14484 Penasquitos Drive; and St. Timothy Lutheran Church at 2602 Reo Drive. Check the list of more than 800 congregations to find an LCMC church near you.

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright, 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S. A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Visit La Jolla Lutheran Church Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

Home

Directions

Bible Verses
To Memorize

Stories of Members

Meditations

Leslie, a member of La Jolla Lutheran Church Charlie, a member of La Jolla Lutheran Church

Leslie's story

Charlie's story

Worship with us Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

La Jolla Lutheran Church
7111 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, California, 92037
14 miles north of downtown San Diego.

 

If you aren't going
to church,
you're missing
some great messages
from Pastor Mark.

It's time you dropped by for a visit!