The Story of Zecharias and Elizabeth:
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.” (Luke 1:5-7).
Luke tells us here that both Zacharias and Elizabeth have come from the priestly line. To put this in a contemporary setting, we would say that they were preacher’s kids. They had an amazing godly heritage in their family lines. We see also that they were walking in righteousness and serving the Lord faithfully, even though there was no visible manifestation of the hope and promise of the Messiah. And not only were there no external signs of the coming of the Messiah, in their personal lives they had been praying for a child, but the Lord never answered that prayer. I’m sure all throughout their 20’s they were praying, “Lord, bless us with children. Please open Elizabeth’s womb so we can have a child of our own!” All throughout their thirties, and maybe even into their forties, they continued praying for a child. And even though God never answered their prayer, they never walked away from God and said, “Forget it, God! If you’re not going to do this for us, we’re not going to serve you.” They were faithful to their God.
Their story is important because many of us ask these questions too. “Why, God? Why didn’t you answer my prayer? Why didn’t you help me out in this situation where I was in trouble?” This story will offer encouragement to those who have had these kinds of struggles.
A Supernatural Event:
“So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias for your prayer is heard.” (Luke 1:8-13a).
It was a great privilege for one of the priests to be chosen to be the one who would go into the temple, to be just outside of the holy of holies, right before the very presence of God. Finally, Zacharias’ number came up, and he was able to serve the Lord in this special manner.
Now don’t miss the significance of this supernatural event here. Remember that for over four hundred years, there had been no prophecies, dreams, visions, angels, or heavenly experiences of any kind. They had no doubt heard stories, and knew that all throughout the Old Testament the Lord had manifested Himself in supernatural ways, but it had been many generations since anything like this had taken place. And then all of a sudden, a supernatural being appeared to Zacharias and gave him the standard angel greeting: “Do not be afraid!”
Whenever angels showed up in the Bible, they always said, “Fear not!” Why do you think they did that? Because there was something about the presence of these heavenly messengers that would cause you to freak out. Angels aren’t cute, fat little naked babies with wings on their backs, as is depicted in various art forms. Rather, angels are mighty messenger warriors from the Lord. When the Old Testament prophet Daniel saw this same angel, Gabriel, he described him this way: “His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.” (Daniel 10:6).
Pastor Chris Jordan