It is obvious in this passage that Luke did his homework concerning the religious history and traditions of the Jews. Luke had quite an understanding of the Aaronic priesthood. He made note of couple of significant facts; 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. Luke 1:5 ESV See Chronicles 24:1-10 and Exodus 6:23-25. The average Greek would not have known the genealogical history and significance of Zechariah and Elizabeth. But Luke took the time to research it and present it in his account.
Luke also makes the point that they were both righteous before God. He also points out that Elizabeth was unable to have children and that she and Zechariah were elderly. Luke then lets us know that it was during Zechariah's service to God, that God sent an angel with some incredible news. (Verses 8-13) They were going to have a son! In verses 14-17 the angel explains that there are great things that will come from the birth of this son.
Even though an angel of God stands before him making this proclamation, Zechariah doubts. He basically says to the angel; we are old, how could this happen? The angel Gabriel responds to his doubt by making him mute until the prophecy was fulfilled.
Luke then tells us in verses 24 and 25 that just as the angel said would happen, Elizabeth did become pregnant. But, she kept it quiet for five months.
As we look back over these verses we can see that God used His system of the priesthood and ancestral lines to bring about His will. To bring forth the prophet that would prepare the people for their long awaited Messiah.
Luke wants his readers to understand that God had been planning for the birth of Jesus all the way back when he established the Aaronic priesthood in the wilderness wanderings of the exodus. Isn't it interesting that God uses a non-Jew to point this out?
Tomorrow we look at the foretelling of the birth of Jesus. Luke 1:26-38
© 2012 Leo J. Woodman