Saturday, October 30, 2010

Zechariah and Elizabeth

5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, [1] of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

Luke 1:5-17, English Standard Version

(The entire narration of this story continues on to verse 57 of Luke 1.)

Zechariah and Elizabeth

When the time came for God to send His only Son to this earth to be born of a woman, God chose a man, John the Baptist, to be the forerunner of Christ's birth, to proclaim the coming of the Lord. As the world blindly continued on, God was unveiling the greatest miracle of all to provide salvation for that same sleeping world.

Elizabeth and Zechariah, the chosen parents of this forerunner, were a Godly couple, righteous before God. Zechariah, serving as a priest, was chosen to burn incense in the temple of the Lord. While there, an angel of the Lord appeared to him with startling news; Elizabeth, his wife, though late in years, was to give birth to a son, whom he should name John. His son, John, would be used by the Lord to turn the hearts of the people toward righteousness, preparing them for the coming of the Lord.

Though Zechariah was a Godly man, he still doubted in his heart that such a thing would even be possible for Elizabeth. Because of his doubt, the angel made Zechariah mute; he would not speak another word until after his son was born.

When Zechariah came out of the temple, not being able to speak, the people realized that he had seen a vision from God.

What of Elizabeth? We are not told much about Elizabeth; it seemed as though she received her husband's news joyfully with no doubt in her mind as to its possibility.

God fulfilled the words of the angel, and Elizabeth became pregnant. We are told that in her sixth month, Mary came to visit her; when Mary entered the house, Elizabeth's baby jumped for joy in her womb.

41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Luke 1:41-45

As both women continue with their pregnancies, God is right there with them, continuing to reveal Himself through His angel.

Elizabeth's child was born first; in obedience to the commands of the angel, Elizabeth named him John. The people were amazed; at his circumcision they were ready to name him Zechariah after his father. They made signs to Zechariah asking him what to name the baby. Zechariah wrote on a tablet, "His name is John." Immediately Zechariah's speech returned to him and he ministered to the people.

In many ways we have become like the world at the time of Christ's birth: asleep. We speak of God, acknowledge that He exists, and continue to live dwelling upon our misery and hopelessness. Like Elizabeth, we must go forth as women (and men) of faith. This very God who sent His Son to this earth in such a miraculous way to purchase a people for Himself walks right beside us day by day. Pray that God would open your eyes to see the presence of Christ, who will never leave you nor forsake you.

As Elizabeth and Zechariah, walk in peace and confidence knowing that Christ is walking through the same valleys as you are, sustaining you every step of the way.

God Bless You,
Linda

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