We are reading and studying these opening verses of Luke Chapter 1. Zechariah was a faithful priest in a day when there was not a lot of faithfulness around.
I wonder how many people thought, “Look at that silly old priest going away to conduct a service - and say prayers - and preach something - a message - which no-one really wants to hear.” How many people might say that of us as we meet for Worship and Prayer week by week?
Ignore it - forget it - overlook it. Let people say what they want. If you know you are right in the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ, let people think and say what they like.
But, Zechariah, and Elizabeth, his dear wife, had no child. Elizabeth was unable to bear a child, and now they were very old. They had not become sour or bitter. They had not allowed this to make them resentful or jealous. They were righteous, godly and blameless.
Do not let anything at all cause you to become sour or bitter.
Once in a lifetime of a priest, he would be called to lead the service in The Temple in Jerusalem, and, Zechariah’s day arrived! Zechariah was in the House of God leading the people in Praise and Prayer, and God moves and acts in that dry dead old Jewish ‘church’ when He sees a faithful man about his spiritual duties - a man who is righteous and loyal.
Amidst all the corruption and formality of the religious routine - amidst all the hypocrisy of the elders and scribes and Pharisees - God has a group of Praying People - and on this day, this godly man has a group of praying people around him - supporting him and strengthening him.
What an encouragement it is when a Pastor or Preacher knows that around him there is a group of praying people.
Look at what happens when God sees a faithful man, and a praying people.
God acts and moves.
The Lord God sends an angel, and, when the Lord God acts and moves by sending an angel, the man of God becomes troubled and afraid. When God comes near us at times - or in a new way - we too can become troubled or afraid. The angel seeks to dispel the fear, “Don’t be afraid - your prayer is heard.” God had heard His faithful servants. He always does, and God is now answering their prayers, but this is not what they expected.
Prayers are not rejected because the answer is long in coming.
Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
Verse14. This will fill you with joy and gladness. Many will rejoice at his birth. This was going to be more than just a family blessing. He will be great in the sight of the Lord. It is those whom God calls great who are really great.
From birth - from his mother’s womb - he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. John is being separated unto God from conception. John is being prepared for ministry, and he is being anointed with all he will require for ministry. Who can tell what part our children might play in the mighty purposes of God?
Verse 16 – What a ministry John is going to have. Could anyone wish for a higher ministry than that? He will minister in the spirit and power of Elijah.
Do you realise that John is the most ignored and overlooked person in the narrative surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ.
We must remember both births. Both are important in the eyes of God.
He would bring fathers and children together. They had generation gap problems too. They had similar problems to those we have today - and no government, no social work department will solve them. They will only be solved when God begins to act and move - but through whom? Righteous, godly men and women.
In current terminology, only an anointed ministry of the Body of Christ can save and rescue this type of situation.
But, here we are studying the beginning of the solution to a massive problem.
Consider these words, and this move of God, carefully and thoughtfully, with a view to discovering what your part might be in the practical outworking of God’s solution to man’s multiple problems in these present days.
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