This is lesson 1 of 4 in the Good News for the Humble series, a Christmas and New Year’s study of Luke 1–2.
- Main Point of the Passage: God sent Zechariah and Elizabeth a son named John to prepare the way for Jesus by giving God’s people the knowledge of salvation.
- Main Point of the Lesson: Jesus’ coming is good news because he brings forgiveness of sins to those who repent.
- Main Application of the Lesson: Participants will repent of their sins from the heart.
- Key Verse: Luke 1:76-77, CSB, “And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.”
To prepare for this lesson, write your own answers to each of the questions below. You will share some of your answers with the group, but make it your goal to talk less than 20% of the Bible study time. Ask the questions, listen to your group, and let them carry the Bible study. You’ll be amazed.
If you plan to use the optional homework, you’ll need two or three volunteers each week. A few days before your Bible study, choose two volunteers and give each of them one of the following assignments. Tell them you’d like them to take 3-5 minutes to share their work with the group.
Once everyone in your group is sitting in a circle, say, “Here’s the first question. Everyone answers the first question, and it’s just for fun.” Then read the first question, pause, and listen to your group’s answers.
Smile Question: What is one of your family’s unique Christmas traditions?
Share Question: Imagine you were an Israelite living in Jesus’ time. What aspects of his birth would have surprised you?
Introduce the Passage: Jesus’ coming is good news because he brings forgiveness of sins to those who repent. In Luke chapter one, God sent Zechariah and Elizabeth a son named John who was to prepare the way for Jesus by giving God’s people the knowledge of salvation.
- Optional: If you’re using the optional homework, have a member of your group either recite the passage from memory or give a detailed summary of the passage from memory.
- Optional: Have a member of your group present their word study on the following word(s):
- “Salvation” in Luke 1:77
Study Question: As we read verses 1–25 and 57–80, let’s list clues about the nature of the salvation John will announce.
Possible answers include:
- It will be a source of joy (v. 14)
- It will turn people to the Lord (v. 16)
- It will change people’s hearts for the better (v. 17)
- It will bring redemption for God’s people (v. 68)
- It will fulfil ancient prophecy (v. 70)
- It will bring salvation from enemies (v. 71)
- It will be an act of God’s mercy (v. 72)
- It will fulfil God’s covenant with his people (v. 72-73)
- It will allow us to serve God without fear (v. 74)
- It will enable us to live in holiness and righteousness (v. 75)
- It will allow us to live in God’s presence (v. 75)
- It will bring forgiveness of sins (v. 77)
- It will be because of God’s merciful compassion (v. 78)
- It will bring light to those in darkness (v. 79)
- It will guide our feet in the way of peace (v. 79)
Connect-the-Dots Question: One of the basic teachings of Christianity is that no one can achieve righteousness because of what they’ve done. Read Luke 1:6 again. Why do you think Luke said this about Zechariah and Elizabeth?
Count-the-Cost Question: John’s message was “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3). What might an upright person like Zechariah have to repent of?
Let’s-Do-It Question: Has today’s lesson brought to mind a sin that you need to repent of or a relationship you need to restore?
Prayer: Father, thank you for giving your people the hope of salvation through the forgiveness of our sins. Your kindness leads us to repentance. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Optional homework for next time: After your group discussion and prayer, distribute the following pages to volunteers in preparation for your next Bible study.