And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. (22) And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. (23) And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. (24) And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, (25) Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.Luke 1:21-25
There is a scene change in verse 21. Zacharias goes back out to the people that had waited on him. They had been wondering why his service had taken so long. When he came back there was evidence that something had happened inside. The pronouncement by the angel that Zacharias would be mute was instantaneous. He tried to communicate with the crowd gathered there, but was unable to tell them what happened verbally. They perceived rightly that there was some kind of vision that was seen. Zacharias finished his duty and went home.
They believed God in their old age and conceived a son. It was miraculous in that God made it possible in their old age for them to conceive. Elizabeth must have been so overjoyed to finally have her prayers for a son answered. She had prayed, and God answered in a way that was more than she would have ever known. She declares this in verse 25. She says that her “reproach” was taken away. She was no longer one that had been “cursed” by God, but had been blessed by God and shown His favor.
Remember the bigger picture here. God was preparing the world at many different levels for the redemption that would come by His Son. John was a part of that master plan of redemption. He was going to prepare teh people for the coming Messiah. He was being used to point us to the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth as Jesus the Christ. Do you remember John’s declaration of Jesus? “Behold the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” The nation of Israel would have understood that language. Millions of lambs without spot or blemish had been sacrificed by shedding their blood to atone for the sins of the people. Consider these verses from Hebrews:
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?Hebrews 9:11-14
God was concerned not just with the prayers of Zacharias and Elisabeth, but also about His plan of redemption for all mankind. Ultimately the son that Elisabeth would bare in her old age would declare the identity of the Messiah that would die for her sins and redeem her soul. That’s why for so long his answer looked like a “no” and she would suffer “reproach”. God’s plan was far better!
God can be trusted. What He says will happen will come to pass. If you ask for something and you get an answer from the Lord that you do not want, know that it is not because He doesn’t love you. God loves you and wants what is best for you. He sees the end from the beginning and has an incredible plan in mind. We may not understand our circumstances, and when we do not, we must trust our good and gracious God.
Take some time today to pray to God and thank Him that He can be trusted. If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, today is the day of salvation.