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Sunday School

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THE LESSON BACKGROUND. Luke began his task of relating the events of Jesus’ life carefully and systematically (see Luke 1:1-4) by placing them in the proper historical setting. The first news of Jesus’ advent came during the “days of Herod the king of Judea” (see Luke 1:5), when Israel was downtrodden by foreign authorities. Herod was a harsh Idumean (Edomite) puppet king who served the Roman Empire. Surely, the time was ripe for a divine message, especially since there had been no word from the LORD to Israel since the last prophet Malachi who prophesied four hundred years earlier. In this atmosphere lived a godly Jewish couple from the tribe of Levi, Zacharias and Elisabeth. Although they had walked faithfully before God, He had withheld children from them, and now they were advanced in age (see Luke 1:6-7). Elisabeth had probably long before resigned herself to carry the social stigma of childlessness for the rest of her life. This is where our lesson begins.

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