Sunday Afternoon Musings
Zacharias, an aging and godly priest, a teacher of the law who had kept the commandments and walked in the statutes of God all his life. He is coming to the end of his active priesthood. He and Elizabeth have prayed for a child for years, but are now beyond childbearing years, and have stopped praying and given up on their hope of a child. Their line will end. They will not have a part in Messiah’s line.
But then, Zacharias’ division is called. One from their number will be chosen by lot to offer the daily offering in the Temple. One from every family in the division of Abijah assemble; lots are drawn and Zacharias is called! It is the pinnacle of this life as a priest. Childless Elizabeth and Zacharias are honored when the lot falls to the aging Zacharias.
So he goes into the Temple. Nervous. Excited. Curious. Awestruck, that finally, he has gotten the opportunity to go into a part of the Temple that few ever see.
And there God sends an angel to give him a message. He and Elizabeth are going to have a son!
Zacharias when he first heard what the angel told him had doubts. Elizabeth was old, too old for children. They had given up. Others might be a part of God’s plan, but it looked like their line would end.
No Messiah would come from them.
The angel’s message?
“Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Luke 1:13-17 (NASB 1995 update)
No Messiah would come from Zacharias and Elizabeth but the Messiah was coming!
And their son, their impossible, late in life, past child-bearing years son, their long-prayed-for son would come before Him and prepare the way. Their miraculous son, the one we call John the Baptist, would turn the hearts of Israel in preparation for the Messiah’s unveiling.
The prayers of righteous Zacharias and faithful Elizabeth would be answered. There are rewards brothers and sisters, for faithfulness and hope in God. Draw courage from the word of God in your journey with Christ.
And this Christmas season, remember that God has sent us the One to who John the Baptist would point and say, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” That is what Christmas is all about.