The Contemplative New Testament: Luke 1

As a PhD candidate in Christian Origins, I spend a lot of my time in the Bible. What this means is that if you would trust a first year med student to operate on your brain, you will feel comfortable using these for your devotional life.  I have translated the texts with two main angles always in mind:  God’s Kingdom and Christian Spirituality.  I trust you will find these new paraphrases enlightening as you live out God’s counter-intuitive ways on earth as it is in heaven.

Luke 1.5-25

The matters you are interested in came to pass in the days of Herod King of the Jews.  There was a certain priest named Zachariah, from the order of Abia and his wife from among the daughters of Aaron.  And her name was Elizabeth.  They were both righteous before God, embracing all the commands.  And when it came to walking in the righteousness of the Lord, they were blameless.  But they had no children.

It was because Elizabeth was barren.  And their childbearing days were far gone.

The time came for him to serve as priest before God, in the way of his order.  According to the custom of the priests, the dice chose him to be the one to burn incense when he came into the temple of the Lord

And all the people were praying outside during the hour of the lighting.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to him.  It was standing to the right of the altar of incense.  And when Zachariah saw it, he was so startled that fear fell upon him.  And the angel said to him:

“Don’t fear Zacharia, because your deep prayer has been heard.  And your wife Elizabeth will bear you a child.  And you shall call him John.  With the boy, you will find yourself so happy and rejoicing. In fact, many will be filled with joy at his birth.  And listen carefully: he must not drink wine or hard alcohol.  It gets deeper.  He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even in his mother’s womb.  And he will bring back many sons of Israel to the Lord their God.  And he will come before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah with a two fold mission: first to return the hearts of fathers to children and the disobedient into right thinking; second to by tilling the soil, to prepare the people for the Lord.”

Zacharia said to the angel:

“By what sign will I know this?”  For I am old and my wife’s childbearing days are far gone.”

And responding, the angel said to him:

“You want a sign? I am Gabriel, the one who stands near to the face of God.   I was sent to you to speak and to declare these things.  Now behold, silence will come upon you and you will not be able to speak.   You won’t be able to speak until the day these things come to pass. This will happen, because you didn’t believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their right time.”

All the while, the people were waiting for Zachariah.  And they were astonished at how long it was taking him in the temple.   And when he came to them, he wasn’t able to speak to them.   And all they could discern were three things: that he saw a vision in the temple, that he was gesturing to them, and that he remained unable to speak. And so it came to pass that when the time of his service was fulfilled, he left for home.

After this all happened, Elizabeth, his wife, conceived.  She kept herself in her room for five months in wonder, saying, “The Lord has done this for me.  These are surprising days when He king-heartedly brought me out of the night of my disgrace among the race of men.”