God's Astounding Promises
A childless couple had a great burden to bear in biblical times. Even in today's society, there are stigmas attached to couples who cannot have children, but today's pressures cannot compare with the shame inflicted upon couples 2,000 years ago.
Such was the problem faced by Zechariah and Elizabeth. Their problem was magnified by the fact that Zechariah was a priest and Elizabeth was also of the line of Aaron (v. 5). They were upright and blameless in the work of the Lord (v. 6). Thus, they were not expected to be cursed by God, and that is exactly what being childless was considered.
All of this is about to change. Zechariah is about to have an amazing encounter with an angel of the Lord. Promises will be made to him that will seem unbelievable. These promises form the basis of the lesson.
God's Astounding Promises
The first promise is remarkable enough on its own. Zechariah is promised a child. Verse 7 describes for us the significance of the promise. Zechariah and Elizabeth were both "well along in years." In short, they were too old to be having a baby. Yet the announcement has been made by an angel of the Lord. The promise to Zechariah is also greater and more specific than just that he will have a child. The promise is that the child will be born to him and to Elizabeth his aged wife. His child will be born through his beloved spouse, and not through anyone else. Most significantly, their child will be a son (v. 13). Any child would be a miracle, but the promise of a son must certainly have been beyond Zechariah's greatest expectations.
One cannot help comparing this event to God's revelation and promise to Abraham. God also promised Abraham his aged wife Sarah would have a son. Like Zechariah, Abraham found this promise to be less than immediately believable. The son born of such a miracle would be the foundation for a great and mighty work of God. These thoughts had to be racing through the mind of Zechariah the priest. The groundwork had been laid that his son would be special.
The second promise deals with how special his son will be. Verses 14-17 provide a description of the son. The characteristics mentioned in verses 14-16 would make any father proud. "Many will rejoice because of his birth." "He will be great in the sight of the Lord." "He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth." "Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God." These promises all point to the fact that Zechariah's son will be a great man.
A Shocking Prophecy Fulfilled
Verse 17, however, must have stopped Zechariah cold. As a priest, there is no way he could have misunderstood the last words of this promise. The promise spoken by the angel is that his son will be the forerunner of the Messiah. Zechariah knew the words of the prophets concerning the events of the Messiah. He knew that a prophet would come in the power and spirit of Elijah to turn the hearts of the people and to prepare them for the coming of the Lord. Verse 17 is almost a direct quote of Malachi 4:5-6. Yes, Zechariah knows that one is coming to make a path for the Lord, and the angel has just told him that this prophet will be his son.
It is no wonder Zechariah has a difficult time believing such a message could be true. The significance of the prophecy is beyond our realm of understanding.
Verses 57-80 record the fulfillment of the angel's promise. Elizabeth gives birth to a son, John. Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, declares the promise made to him regarding his son. He gives the boy his mission (vv. 76-77) and proclaims the coming glory of the Lord. God has fulfilled his promise not only to him personally, but the promise made to all people of a coming Savior.
God's Plan for Your Life
Part of this lesson deals with our own struggles to discover God's plan in our lives. Zechariah and Elizabeth must have questioned their place in God's design. While they obviously had been faithful and sincere, they must have wondered if they really mattered. Their lives seemed almost over and nothing significant had occurred in or through them. Zechariah had been a faithful priest, but what had come from that? Was this all there was for them?
Amazingly, God was not yet through with the two of them. He had great things planned for them that were beyond their ability to imagine. Sometimes God still works that way in our lives today. His plan is not readily apparent and may even seem delayed. But when his timing and his direction come together, incredible things can happen. Prophecy and scripture can be fulfilled, and the kingdom of God can appear, all through us. We should probably be speechless too.
Bible Study: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Public Domain Image • Zechariah and St. John, Holy Cross Monastery in Jerusalem
Image • St
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Are You Engaged With Teenagers Where They’re Growing Spiritually?.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost 5 Roles Youth Workers Play In The Lives Of Teenagers.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost 6 Tips for Creating Structure and Boundaries in Ministry.
- Kelly Balarie published the blogpost Bible Verses for Perfectionists: Finding Your True Worth.
- solomon david published the blogpost 6 Must to Have Skills That Every Magento Store Developer Should Consider.
- solomon david published the blogpost Cloud Gaming Fun With Microsoft’s DeLorean Available Soon.
- solomon david published the blogpost 6 Amazing Paid iPhone Applications that Available for Free Right Now.
- Matt Perman published the blogpost Tim Ferriss on the Importance of Being Unconventional.
- Barbie Swihart published the blogpost Journey To The High Places: On The Shores of Loneliness (Week 7).
- Adam Smith published the blogpost Labor Day, Your Marriage, and Your Family – Jackie Bledsoe.
- Judy Douglass published the blogpost How We Got Here: Live Alive Guest Post by Jordan Stroman.
- Brian Dodd published the blogpost 14 Practices Of Senior Pastors Who Grow Great Churches.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Teens Are Getting Pickier About The Brands They Display On Their Clothes.
- Bill Reichart published the blogpost Two Prayers That Will Inspire And Provoke The Soul.
- Martin KnoxGood bye, Faith Village. Thank you, Brad Russell, for what you have contributed to the work of the Kingdom.
- Greg Flagg published the blogpost Prayer for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (Ordinary Time).
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Florida City Makes It Illegal to Wear Your Pants Too Low.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost MTV Bloodstained Hypocrisy of Hollywood’s Violence Profiteers.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Marine Just Issued An Epic Challenge To The Black Community And The Ferguson Rioters.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Teens Who Skimp On Sleep May Face Later Obesity Risk.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Study: Parental Incarceration May Be Worse Than Divorce.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Video Helps Gay Teen Disowned By Christian Parents Raise $90,000.
- Caitlin Wilson published the blogpost Sunday Refreshments | Do You Pick a Church Like You Pick A Restaurant?.
- Amy Lathrop published the blogpost Sunday Refreshments | Do You Pick a Church Like You Pick A Restaurant?.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost Don't you know you aren't supposed to drink the water in Mexico?.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost There's trouble in Paradise... and I've lost interest.
- Caitlin Wilson published the blogpost Expectant Parents by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin | Giveaway, Blog Tour, & Publicity.
- Amy Lathrop published the blogpost Expectant Parents by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin | Giveaway, Blog Tour, & Publicity.
- Ashley Howland published the blogpost Baylor Scott & White hospitals planning to align with Cleveland Clinic.
- James Vest just moved in. Take time to say hey.