The Birth of John is Foretold

p00121716001

Luke 1:5-25

Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were old and well beyond child bearing; they had no children and no hope of ever having children. He was a priest at the Temple, and she was something of a disgrace for being barren. On a certain day, Zechariah was chosen by lot, as was the custom, to enter the Holy Place to burn the incense to God. This of course was the twice daily ritual following the sacrifice for the atonement of sins. It is important to this story for us to understand that the casting of lots was done to enable God to choose which priest was to enter the Holy Place, thus Zechariah’s selection would have been understood as God’s choice, and no accident.

While in the Holy Place, Zechariah was startled by the angel of the Lord who came to bring him some very unexpected good news: Elizabeth would conceive a child in her old age.

Does this remind you of someone?

This would be no ordinary child, for he would be filled with the Holy Spirit even before being born, which was the special favor of God in a time when there was no generally available indwelling of the Spirit. He would prepare the way for the Lord Himself with the spirit of Elijah, the great prophet of old. In the process, he would bring many people back to the righteous ways of the Lord.

Zechariah was to call the boy John.

If you were in Zechariah’s sandals, what would be your reaction? Maybe you’d be overjoyed, or shocked, or terrified, or very proud… or skeptical! Zechariah wanted to know how he could be sure this news was true, a fairly human concern, I’d have to say. It would appear that the angel wasn’t all that impressed with such a reaction, however. He identified himself as Gabriel who served in the presence of God, and informed Zechariah that he would be mute until the miraculous (there’s really no other word for it) birth was completed.

Well, Zechariah asked for a sign, and he got one… right?

Meanwhile, the people outside praying were wondering what had happened to Zechariah; he’d been inside far too long. When he emerged from the Temple, they could tell he had experienced some kind of vision, but he couldn’t tell them anything about it. He returned home and his wife became pregnant; the Lord had taken away her disgrace and she went into seclusion for her term. Yet soon another angelic visit would take place…

Advertisements

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christian Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Birth of John is Foretold

  1. Pete says:

    How would I react? It is so hard for us to put ourselves in Zechariah’s place because we have such a different relation with God in these times through Christ. I can’t put that aside. But I think Iwould have a similar reaction. How do I really know I’m not dreaming, or hallucinating. Gabriel, from all I[ve read, was most likely decked out in armor and was quite large. It would be hard to question him, but I think I would

  2. Well, why was he so shocked?

    He was still – in his old age – praying for a son. Remember, Gabriel said God had heard his prayer. I guess it was like praying for rain, but not getting out the umbrella.

  3. Olufela says:

    I think Zechariah was startled because for a long time, there had been no miracles, prophets and even angelic visitations…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s