A New Era Begins

12.19.2021 Adult Sunday School

A New Era Begins

  1. John's Birth Foretold (Luke 1:5-17)
  2. Zecharaih's Reaction (Luke 1:18-25
  3. John's Birth (Luke 1:57-68; 80

Central Truth: The era of God's grace that began with the birth of John the Baptist is still in effect today.

Focus: Acknowledge and appreciate that, with John's birth, a new era of God's grace began.

Evangelism Emphasis: The Holy Spirit enable us to help prepare the way for people to believe in Christ.

Key Scripture (Luke 1:68): "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people"


  • Luke was a physician
  • His work was likely written for Theophilus to document his interaction with Christ
  • John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus

John's Birth Foretold


Key Scripture (Luke 1:5-7): 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. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.


Key Scripture (Luke 1:8-12): So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, [a]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.

The Ministry of Angels

Like us, angels were created to praise and glorify God. And, although we are of different worlds and assigned to different jobs, miraculously we join in the rich prupose of surrendering to His perfect will.

Charles R. Swindoll


Key Scripture (Luke 1:13-17): 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.”

2. Zechariah's Reaction


Key Scripture (Luke 1:18-20): 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.”


Key Scripture (Luke 1:21-22): 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.


Key Scripture (Luke 1:23-25): 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.”

God's Ways

God's ways and His delays can be confusing because what God uses to accomplish His will can go against human logic and common sense.

--Anne Graham Lotz

3. John's Birth


Key Scripture (Luke 1:57-63): 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.

Q: When must we disregard tradition?

b. glorifying god and prophesying

Key Scripture (Luke 1:64-68): 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.

God at Work

From the beginning, the Holy Spirit has been at work in the world. Judges performed miracles. Priests received divine revelations. Musicians sang and composed songs in the Spirit. Prophets declared the will of God in spoken and written messages.

-- Horace S. Ward

c. growing strong in spirit

Key Scripture (Luke 1:80): So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

A rough diamond

  • John the Baptist was integral to the life of Jesus Christ
  • John the Baptist can be called the last prophet of the older era and the first apostle of the new era.


M - The Light Shines in Darkness (Isaiah 9:1-3) 

T - A Voice in the Wilderness (Isaiah 40:1-5)

W - Hears of the Fathers (Malachi 4:1-6)

T - The Holy Spirit and Fire (Luke 3:15-18)

F - The Kingdom of God Advances (Matthew 11:7-15)

S - The Mystery of Ministerial Authority (Mark 11:27-33)