The first 3 verses of Luke 1 tell us some important information about his gospel. Luke, remember, we met in Acts, who became a believer and accompanied Paul throughout all the latter half of his life and ministry. He was a doctor by profession, so he had a very scientific mind. He says that many had already written down a narrative of the life of Jesus, those who were eyewitnesses of the things He did (Matthew and Mark were written before Luke).
Luke was not an eyewitness. But he investigated all things from the very first, and set all the events in Jesus’ life down in order. Luke’s gospel is chronological. Matthew grouped all the teachings together, then all the miracles together, etc. He ordered his gospel, but not chronologically. Luke ordered his gospel chronologically. Luke is the closest we can come to a biography in the sense that we are used to: a chronological narrative of a life.
Many people tell new believers to read the gospel of John first. I don’t. John is full of difficult theology that requires an understanding of the Old Testament in order to grasp. Luke will give you the hisstory, the facts, of who Jesus was and what He said and did, straight and simple.
In this chapter, both Zacharias and Mary were visited by Gabriel with the news of a miraculous birth. Upon hearing the news, both asked Gabriel a question, but they were two different questions. Zacharias asked, “How shall I know this?” or in other words, How can I know you are telling me the truth, and that these things will really come to pass? Gabriel told Zacharias that since he did not believe his words, he would be mute until the time the baby was born. Zacharias’ response to the word was unbelief. It did not, however, stop the miracle from happening! Zacharias was just inconvenienced for 9 or 10 months.
Mary asked, “How can this be?” Her response to the word was belief. She didn’t doubt it would happen, as Zacharias did, but she did know about the birds and the bees, and merely did not understand how it could happen, since she was still unmarried. Gabriel told her. Sometimes God is just waiting for us to ask. If we don’t understand something, ask Him! If we need something, ask Him! Sometimes He is just waiting for us to ask!