January 2, 2020

A New Year to Surrender

Luke 1:1–25

Ashley Neill
Thursday's Devo

January 2, 2020

Thursday's Devo

January 2, 2020

Central Truth

God is in control. He does things that don't make any sense to us, but we must continue to trust in Him, His good plans, and His perfect timing.

Key Verse | Luke 1:20

"And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time."

Luke 1:1–25

Dedication to Theophilus

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, 1 1:5 Greek Zacharias of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”


[1] 1:5 Greek Zacharias

Dive Deeper | Luke 1:1–25

As we begin a new year, I can't help but think how many of us would love to be told in advance what the year ahead has in store for us. We think we want to know what the future holds, but how many of us would doubt the foretold news, even if it had long been a desire of our heart?

In the first chapter of Luke, an angel of the Lord appears to Zechariah with the news that Elizabeth and he would have a son and name him John. Zechariah responds how I think most of us would—with fear and doubt, even though the angel tells him "[d]o not be afraid" and that "your prayer has been heard." He asks the angel, "How shall I know this?" Despite these assurances, Zechariah falls captive to the sin of disbelief and is disciplined by being mute until the birth of his son.

As I read these verses, I can't help but ask, "Why does Luke want to make sure these were recorded for us to read and understand?" We know that Zechariah and Elizabeth were both faithful believers; yet they were withheld from having a child—a deep desire of their hearts. I read that their childlessness was not because of any personal sin of theirs, but rather because of God's sovereign and wise plan. We can see the big picture and be thankful that Elizabeth didn't bear a son when she wanted, but rather in the Lord's timing.

We can learn from Zechariah's fear and doubt that there are real, tangible consequences of disobedience. The words of the Lord are to be believed and not questioned, even if they don't make sense to us! If we believe that God always loves, that His care never stops, how could we ever doubt His promises?

As you look to the year ahead and prepare for both the joys and difficulties it may hold, may you be reminded of God's perfect timing and surrender to the truth of His promises.

Discussion Questions

1. What is something you have been trying to control that you need to surrender to the Lord and His perfect timing?

2. What promises of the Lord cause you to doubt or have fear? Have you shared these doubts and fears with your community? Why or why not?

3. Think of a time you experienced a tangible consequence of disobedience or sin. Did this consequence encourage doubt or reassurance in your heart? If doubt, how are you working toward peace and assurance in the Lord?