I memorized all the headings and subheadings in the book of the Luke to help me get familiar with the entire gospel story, so now I’m hoping to use this thread to help me also become familiar with the particular details—chapter-by-chapter. The book supposedly begins with the birth of John being announced to Zechariah, but in actuality, it really begins with Luke stating why and for whom he wrote the document. Of particular interest to me was Gabriel’s displeasure with Zechariah’s hesitance to believe what the angel who stands in the presence of God had to say. It would seem that doubting whatever things God has to say is not a good idea. In terms of Jesus’ birth announced to Mary (when Elizabeth was into her sixth month of pregnancy), at first glance one might think that Mary too doubted what Gabriel had to say. So why wasn’t she struck mute in the same manner as Zechariah? I’m thinking that perhaps it wasn’t so much a case of her being doubtful, but simply not understanding how it was possible, and requesting a few more details to shed some light on how it would come about—especially given the fact that, when Mary visited her relative Elizabeth, Elizabeth greeted Mary in part by saying, “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” In short, I guess seeking to better understand God’s word is okay, but to flat out disbelieve it—not so much. What strikes me about Mary’s visit to Elizabeth was how it confirmed Gabriel’s pronouncement that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit, “even from his mother’s womb.” Mary remained there for about three months, so she must have left just before John was born, or just after. As for the song of Mary, or Mary’s song of praise (doxology?), to me it sounds an awful lot like Old Testament Scripture. I’m wondering how much of the text I might be able to find, for example, in the Book of Psalms. From the birth and circumcision of John, I gather it was customary to circumcise and name a male child once he was eight days old. The prophecy delivered by Zechariah once he started speaking again was a description of who John was, or was to become, after describing who Jesus was, or was to become. The first chapter ends by stating, “And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” I understand that confronting folks with a wilderness experience before having them begin ministering on His behalf was a biblical pattern with God.