Reading: Luke 1:5-80
Summary: The great majority of information concerning the birth of Jesus is found in Luke’s gospel. Included in that material is the record of John the Baptist’s birth. Both John’s and Jesus’ arrival were matters of angelic announcement to both Zechariah—John’s father, and Mary. The lives and ministries of both John and Jesus were the fulfillment of prophecy. These were no ordinary births, but the result of divine operation.
Pay particular attention to Luke’s record of the inspired words of both of John’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, as well as those of Mary.
Luke 1 is one of those rare occasions when angels make a public appearance. We know there are many of these beings (myriads the Bible says) but yet they aren’t seen very often or recognized when they are seen. But Zechariah saw and knew what he saw and he feared.
The angel’s message for Zechariah was that his prayer had been heard. And what was that prayer? To have a child. Think about it. Zechariah and Elizabeth were both “advanced in years” and had no children (Luke 1:7). Elizabeth had lived with the stigma of barrenness for all of her adult life. When do you suppose these two had begun praying to God for a child? Early on, no doubt.
But then, how quickly had the thrill of being newly married and the anticipation of their first baby given way to frustration and aggravation at their inability to conceive? Were the prayers intensified about now? How many “home remedies” had they tried? How much friendly advice had they politely heard? How many cutting comments had they endured? Finally, at some point, resolve had no doubt set it in that they would never have a child. Did the time ever come that they stopped praying for one?
Now, remarkably, so late in life, their petition has been heard. Amazing.
For what have you prayed for which no response is evident? How quick are we to abandon our petitions? How soon do we decide God’s answer is “No” because it hasn’t happened yet?
If anything, we learn from Zechariah’s experience the value of patience. We often speak of God’s patience with man, but here it is our patience with God.