The Gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus from a perspective unlike any other. As a physician, Luke presents a detailed account of Jesus’ conception and birth. As a meticulous historian, he highlights Jesus’ parables, teachings, healings, and compassion to the outcasts in Israel. He follows Christ on His journey to the cross, recounts His last days that led to His crucifixion and burial, and documents Christ’s victory over the grave. From the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry to the Lord’s final words, Luke stresses Jesus’ willingness to go to the cross to complete His ultimate mission—to be the Savior of all the world.
The MacArthur Bible Studies provide intriguing examinations of the whole of Scripture. Each guide incorporates extensive commentary, detailed observations on overriding themes, and probing questions to help you study the Word of God with guidance from John MacArthur.
About the Author
John MacArthur has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, since 1969. His ministry of expository preaching is unparalleled in its breadth and influence. In more than five decades of ministry from the same pulpit, he has preached verse by verse through the entire New Testament and several key sections of the Old Testament. He is Chancellor of the Master’s University and Seminary, and can be heard daily on the Grace to You radio broadcast (carried on hundreds of radio stations worldwide). He has authored numerous bestselling books, including Twelve Ordinary Men and One Perfect Life.
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Read an Excerpt
The Savior of the World
By John MacArthur
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 John MacArthur
All rights reserved.
Christ's Birth and Boyhood
Babies are born every day, but Jesus' birth was unique. What is one special way you and your family celebrate Jesus' birth?
Jesus was twelve when he visited the temple. Think back to when you were twelve years old. What were you like? What were your interests? Were you involved in church or interested in spiritual things?
Though attended by great heavenly fanfare, Jesus' birth generated little notice or interest among men. Only a few obscure witnesses celebrated the blessed arrival of the Savior into our sin-scarred world. Luke alone reports the unusual circumstances surrounding the birth of John the Baptist, the annunciation to Mary, the manger, the angelic visitation to the shepherds, and the Spirit-led responses of Simeon and Anna when Jesus was presented at the temple. Of the Gospel writers, only Luke provides any information about the childhood of Christ (2:40–52). But even these details are sketchy, confined mostly to the familiar story of Jesus' encounter with the teachers at the temple when He was twelve. As you read the opening of Luke's story, try to imagine what it must have been like when Jesus first came into the world.
Keys to the Text
Luke's Purpose: Writing primarily to a man named Theophilus and for a Gentile audience, Luke set out to construct a careful and comprehensive account of the life of Christ. His goal was to show that Jesus is not only the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews, but also the Savior of non-Jews. A meticulous historian, Luke begins at the beginning. His account of the nativity is the fullest in all the Gospel records and more polished in its literary style.
Jesus: A name from the Greek word Iesous, equivalent to the Hebrew name Yeshua (Joshua), that literally means, "The Lord shall save" In Old Testament times, the name Jesus was a common Jewish name. However, the meaning of this name expresses Jesus' unique redemptive work on earth. The angel sent to Joseph affirmed the importance of Jesus' name, "for He will save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21 NKJV).
Unleashing the Text
Read 1:1–2:52, noting the key words and definitions next to the passage.
Luke 1:1–2:52 (NKJV)
1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us,
2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us,
3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus,
4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,
9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is 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 in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also 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 He will also 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 a people prepared for the Lord."
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years."
19 And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple.
22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.
23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.
24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying,
25 "Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing will be impossible."
38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah,
40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."
46 And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever."
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
57 Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son.
58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias.
60 His mother answered and said, "No; he shall be called John."
61 But they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name."
62 So they made signs to his father — what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, "His name is John." So they all marveled.
64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.
65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea.
66 And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, "What kind of child will this be?" And the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68 "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
2:1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us."
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD"),
24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,
28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against
35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;
37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Excerpted from Luke by John MacArthur. Copyright © 2007 John MacArthur. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction to Luke, 1,
1 Christ's Birth and Boyhood Luke 1:1–2:52, 5,
2 Christ's Ministry Begins Luke 3:1–4:44, 21,
3 Christ's Disciples Luke 5:1–6:16, 33,
4 Christ's Message, Ministry, and Miracles Luke 6:17–9:50, 43,
5 Christ's Audience Luke 9:51–10:42, 63,
6 Christ's Eternal Reminders Luke 11:1–13:35, 73,
7 Christ's Lessons and Parables, Part 1 Luke 14:1–16:31, 89,
8 Christ's Lessons and Parables, Part 2 Luke 17:1–18:34, 101,
9 Christ Up Close Luke 18:35–19:48, 113,
10 Christ's Enemies Luke 20:1–22:6, 123,
11 Christ's Passion Luke 22:7–23:56, 135,
12 Christ Is Risen! Luke 24:1–53, 149,