(13) But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. (14) And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.Luke 1:13-14
In today’s text we see Zacharias being visited by an angel. Who is he that he would be visited by an angel? What brought this circumstance about?
Well, after Luke introduces the work to the reader,Theophilus (v.3), he begins the story of the coming of Christ by starting with this Zecharias.
We know a few things about Zecharias from verses
- He was a priest that worked in the temple. (v.5)
- He was married to Elizabeth. (v.5)
- According to the inpsired Word of God, they were both righteous and blameless before God. (v.6)
- They were without children and were beyond the child bearing years. (v.7)
- He had been chosen to burn incence before the Lord. (v.8-9)
Culturally there would have been shame and sadness for Elizabeth in her bareness. As people that loved the Lord they would have certainly made this a matter of prayer, just like Hannah in the Old Testament. (I Samuel 1:10-11)
It was during this time that he was inside the temple doing these priestly duties while a large group of people waited on him outside. In that moment of solitude, an angel, later identified as Gabriel, supernaturally appeared to Zacharias on the right side of the altar of incense. (v.11) This appearance brought fear into the heart of Zacharias, as it would to most people. (v.12) The angel quickly calmed his fears and gave him some incredible news. The angel told him that his prayers had been answered. He told him that his wife, Elisabeth would have a son, and even told him what to name the son. His name would be called John.
The angel also described what would be true for people at his birth. There would be joy and gladness. The scripture says that many will rejoice at his birth. This is a theme through the book of Luke, so pay attention to this kind of phrase as we study.
As we look back at this passage as history, we know that God had an incredible plan for Zecharias and Elisabeth’s baby boy. He had prophesied years before about this forerunner of the Messiah.
Put yourself in the place of these two people, though. They had given their lives to the Lord, they were blameless before God, and they passionately desired to have children. They prayed for this through the years where there friends were having children. They prayed and prayed and God never answered their prayers. It may have been tempting to doubt God in those moments. It would have been difficult to understand why.
The good news is that it is clear that these two people of God lived a life of faithfulness even when they didn’t know God’s plan. Our life can be the same. We can pray and ask God for our desires, and there are times when we do not get the answer we want. It is in those times where we must trust God. His plan and His ways are best. He can be trusted more than anyone else. Do not stop praying. Keep trusting God.
Is there a part of your life where you are tempted to doubt God? Part of responding correctly is naming that issue. Take some time to think about the answer to that question and write it down.