Passage: Luke 1:67–1:79
Community Group Questions: Luke 1:67-79 "The Poetry of Christmas - Zechariah's Prophecy"
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Take time to read the full story of Zechariah and his poetic prophecy, in Luke 1:5-25, and 1:57-80. Then work through the following questions.
- In Luke 1:7 we learn that Zechariah and Elizabeth faced a profound disappointment in their lives: they were unable to have a child. As a result, they faced painful social shame (see 1:25) and they struggled through years of unanswered prayers (see 1:13). When Zechariah’s “moment of truth” finally came, he showed unbelief (1:18, 20). How does disappointment in our lives, when it festers and grows, affect our trust in God? What are some of the deepest disappointments that you’ve faced in recent years? How did you deal with them spiritually, for better or for worse? As a community group and as a church, how can we do a better job of helping one another process grief and inner pain? What things can each Christian do individually to guard their heart from unbelief in the face of disappointment?
- Zechariah demanded that the angel Gabriel prove his message with a sign (see 1:18). Gabriel does give him a sign: Zechariah will be unable to speak until his son is born. In fact, this “disability” was a “severe mercy” from God because it forced John to consider his own weakness and depend on God’s strength and the truthfulness of God’s Word. Has God ever given you a severe mercy (a disability, or weakness, or challenge, or form of suffering) to teach you to grow and depend on him? Share your story with the group. What did you learn about yourself and about God from the experience?
- In the end, Zechariah did learn to trust God’s Word. This was demonstrated when he resisted peer pressure and obeyed God in naming his son “John” just as the angel Gabriel had instructed him to do (see 1:63-64). What do we learn about the relationship between obedience and faith as we look at Zechariah’s experiences here?
- Zechariah’s “blessing” to God (vs. 64) is given to us in expanded form in verses 67-79. Take a moment to analyze Zechariah’s prophesy: Where are the following promises alluded to in Zechariah’s poem? 2 Sam. 7:12-13, Gen. 12:1-3, Isa. 40:3, Mal. 3:1, Jer. 31:31-34, Numb. 24:17a, Isa. 9:2, 6. Putting it all together, what is Zechariah saying about the nature of God’s Word?
- In your life, when you’ve gone through setbacks, discouragements, and trials, what verses of Scripture have been especially precious to you? How has God proven his Word to be true, especially in the fog of suffering?
Prayer suggestion: In addition to taking prayer requests, take time to pray through Zechariah’s poem, line by line, thanking God for his character, his Word, and his salvation in Christ.