Faithlife Sermons

Zechariah and Elizabeth - the Christmas Story Part 1 First Baby in the Christmas Story

The Christmas Story  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 7 views

The Christmas Story begins with God announcing John's birth.

Notes
Transcript

Zechariah and Elizabeth - the Christmas Story Part 1 First Baby in the Christmas Story

“I’m praying for you, for us,” Elizabeth said.
If you and I were to tell the story we would start with Jesus or his parents. That isn’t how the Bible tells his story. The biblical account of Christmas begins with Jesus’s cousin John. Luke describes the unusual circumstances leading to John’s birth. Today I’m going to take Luke’s account from and weave in details as I imagine the story took place.
“And I for you,” Zechariah said lifting his bag.
“And I for you,” Zechariah said lifting his bag.
“And for us, will you pray for us? You still have hope, don’t you?” Elizabeth asked.
Life was good for them. It didn't turn out as they had expected or wanted but they did not and would not complain. Their faith in God sustained them through good and bad times. They were blessed to both be descendents of Aaron. They passionately loved and served God. There was really only one thing they would change but it was too late for that. They wished they had children. They prayed faithfully over the years knowing that as God opened the wombs of Sarah, Rachel and Hannah he could open Elizabeth's womb and give them a child, if he wished. He had not wished. There was disappointment, but not bitterness. Enough daydreaming, she had work to do.
“And for us, will you pray for us? You still have hope, don’t you?” Elizabeth asked.
“I’m praying for you, for us,” Elizabeth said.
The gospel of Luke begins this way, "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."
“And I for you,” Zechariah said lifting his bag.
Zechariah paused as their eyes met. “Yes, even after all these years, I still have hope,” he said gently. “Our God has always been faithful, I pray for us.”
Zechariah winced. Their eyes met. “We’ve talked of this so many times. Your faith is greater than my but I still have faith. I still have hope,” he said gently. “Our God has always been faithful, I will pray for us.”
So Luke begins Jesus's story. Luke then tells us about the circumstances regarding John’s birth. I’m going to take the biblical narrative and tell you how I imagine the story took place.
The morning sun peeked over the horizon. “It’s time,” he said, “I will make it to Jerusalem before sunset, God willing.”
“I’m praying for you, for us,” Elizabeth said.
The next day began for Zechariah as it would each day for the next two weeks. He and all the other priests on duty waited for the casting of lots. There were far more priests than there were duties to perform in the temple. Consequently they devised a system to choose who would be assigned the temple duties each day. Every priest wondered if his name would be called. Most were not but that was okay. There would always be another day and if not then, another year. The priests huddled in small groups and the room echoed with muffled conversations. Zechariah had been through this experience many times but the anticipation of being chosen still filled him with a child-like excitement.
The morning sun peeked over the horizon. “It’s time. I should make it to Jerusalem before sunset, God willing.”
“And for us, will you pray for us? You still have hope, don’t you?” Elizabeth asked.
Zechariah winced. Their eyes met. “We’ve talked of this so many times. Your faith is greater than mine but I still have hope. Our God is faithful, I will pray for us.”
Elizabeth smiled and waved.
“And I for you,” Zechariah said lifting his bag.
Elizabeth smiled and waved. He knew how fast he need to walk from the dozens of times he’d made this journey. He would be exhausted when he arrived but didn’t mind. His service times at the temple were the highlight of his year.
He walked with a steady pace, knowing how fast he need to walk from the dozens of times he’d made this journey. He’d be exhausted when he arrived but didn’t mind, his service at the temple was a highlight of his year.
The casting of lots began. All conversations stopped as each one listened for his name to be called. A name was called to care for the lamps. Another called to provide shewbread. Next a name was called to receive the free will offerings. And so it went, various duties assigned name by name. Zechariah's name wasn't called. So far so good.
Life was good for him and Elizabeth. They trusted God in good and bad times and He always provided. They passionately loved and served God. There was just one thing they would change. They wished they had children, a child. Elizabeth’s hope never wavered. His did at times and when it did her faith propped him up. He knew nothing was impossible with God. They prayed faithfully over the years knowing that as God opened the wombs of Sarah, Rachel and Hannah he could open Elizabeth's womb and give them a child. If God wished. So far, He had not wished. There was disappointment, but not bitterness. He would continue to pray.
“And for us, will you pray for us? You still have hope, don’t you?” Elizabeth asked.
The sun peeked over the horizon. “It’s time, I will make it to Jerusalem before sunset, God willing.”
Elizabeth smiled and waved.
Zechariah winced. Their eyes met. “We’ve talked of this so many times. Your faith is greater than mine but I still have faith. I still have hope,” he said gently. “Our God has always been faithful, I will pray for us.”
The next day began as it would each day for the next two weeks. The priests gathered for the casting of lots, a system for choosing which priests would serve that day. There were far more priests than duties, so it was rare to be chosen. Zechariah had never been chosen, but that was okay. It was in God’s hands. There would always be another day and if not then, another year.
Life was good for him and Elizabeth. They loved, trusted and served God in good and bad times. He always provided. There was just one thing they would change. They wished they had children, a child. Elizabeth’s hope never wavered. His did at times and when it did her faith propped him up. He knew nothing was impossible with God, but they were old now. They prayed that as God opened the wombs of Sarah, Rachel and Hannah he could open Elizabeth's womb and give them a child. If God wished. So far, He had not wished. There was disappointment, but not bitterness. He was getting good at beating back the doubt. He wished her were better at walking by faith. He loved Elisabeth, so he would continue to pray.
Zechariah proceeded with a practiced pace from making this journey dozens of times. He would be tired when he arrived, but he didn’t mind. He was going to do what he loved, serve at the temple.
The morning sun peeked over the horizon. “It’s time,” he said, “I will make it to Jerusalem before sunset, God willing.”
The room echoed with muffled conversations as the priests huddled in groups. Zechariah had been through this experience many times but the possibility of being chosen still filled him with a child-like excitement.
Each day started with the assignment of duties. They assigned the common duties to any priest. There were just a few special duties everyone wanted to do, such as the daily burning of incense in the Holy Place. There were far more priests than special duties, so they cast lots to determine who would serve in the special duties for that day. In all his years of serving, they had never called Zechariah to serve in the special duties. That was okay. It was in God’s hands. There would always be another day and if not then, another year.
They saved the most desirable duties for the end. The next task was to prepare the incense. A name was chosen. It was not Zechariah. Next it was to scoop up the ashes from the inner altar. A name was chosen. It was not Zechariah. Only two duties were left. Who would remove the ashes from the candlestick? A name was chosen. It was not Zechariah.
The room echoed with muffled conversations as the priests huddled catching up on with friends they hadn’t seen in months. Zechariah had been through this experience many times, but the possibility of being chosen still filled him with a child-like excitement.
Elizabeth smiled and waved.
They began the casting of lots and a hush settled over the room. Each listened for his name to be called. They called a name to care for the lamps. Another to provide the daily shewbread. Next, they called a name of the priest to receive the free will offerings. So, it went, various duties assigned name by name. Zechariah's name wasn't called. So far so good.
Life was good for him and Elizabeth. God always provided. There was one thing. They wished they had children. They wished they had a child. Elizabeth’s hope never wavered. His did and when it did her faith propped him up. They prayed that as God opened the wombs of Sarah, Rachel and Hannah he would open Elizabeth's womb and give them a child. If God wished. So far, He had not wished. There was some disappointment, but not bitterness. Zechariah was getting good at beating back the doubt. He wished he were better at believing. He loved Elizabeth. He would pray.
They began to cast lots and a hush settled over the room. Each hoped they would call his name. First, they called a name to care for the lamps. Another to provide the shewbread. Next, they called a name of the priest to receive the free will offerings. So, it went, various duties assigned name by name. They didn’t call Zechariah's name.
He walked with a steady pace, knowing how fast he need to walk from the dozens of times he’d made this journey. He’d be exhausted when he arrived but didn’t mind, his service at the temple was a highlight of his year.
There was only one task left, the burning of incense before the altar in the morning and the evening. This was such as special honor that one could only do this once in his life. One name would be chosen for the morning and one for the evening. The room was even quieter than before. Many were holding their breath. Even those who had been fortunate enough to be assigned duties listened intently. Who would be chosen?
Each day in Jerusalem started early for the priests. The chief priest assigned them all duties. There was one duty everyone wanted, to go into the Holy Place and offer incense to the Lord. Only two priests did this each day. It was such a privilege that a priest only did it once. There were hundreds of priests available, so they cast lots to determine who got to do it. Many never did it. Zechariah had never done it.
They kept the most desirable duties for last. They called a name to prepare the incense. It wasn’t Zechariah. The next priest would scoop up the ashes from the inner altar. It wasn’t Zechariah. Just two duties were left. They read the name of the person who would remove the ashes from the candlestick. It was not Zechariah.
Life was good for him and Elizabeth. They loved, trusted and served God in good and bad times. God always provided. There was just one thing they would change. They wished they had children, a child. Elizabeth’s hope never wavered. His did at times and when it did her faith propped him up. He knew nothing was impossible with God, but they were old now. They prayed that as God opened the wombs of Sarah, Rachel and Hannah he would open Elizabeth's womb and give them a child. If God wished. So far, He had not wished. There was disappointment, but not bitterness. He was getting good at beating back the doubt. He wished he were better at walking by faith. He loved Elizabeth, so he would continue to pray.
The room echoed with muffled conversations. Friends shared small-talk as they waited for assignments. Every time they gathered, Zechariah felt a child-like excitement hoping he would get to offer incense to the Lord that day.
They kept the most desirable duties for last. They called a name to prepare the incense. It wasn’t Zechariah. The next priest would scoop up the ashes from the inner altar. It wasn’t Zechariah. Just two duties were left. They read the name of the person who would remove the ashes from the candlestick. It was not Zechariah.
There was only one task left, the burning of incense before the altar in the morning and the evening. This was such as special honor that one could only do this once in his life. They would choose one name for the morning and one for the evening. The room seemed quieter than before. Some were holding their breath. Even those who had been fortunate enough to be assigned duties listened intently.
Zachariah closed his eyes and prayed as he had many times asking God to look upon him with favor and give him the privilege of this duty as a gracious gift. They read the first name for the morning sacrifice. It wasn't his. The final name was drawn. He listened. "Zechariah." He opened his eyes. It happened. His name was called! He would burn the incense before the altar in the Holy place! Thanks be to God!
Zachariah closed his eyes and prayed as he had many times asking God to look upon him with favor and give him this duty as a gracious gift. A name was chosen for the morning. It wasn't his. The final name was drawn. He listened. "Zechariah." He opened his eyes. It happened. His name was called! He would burn the incense before the altar in the Holy place! How he wished Elizabeth were in Jerusalem so he could run and tell her this wonderful news. A small crowd surrounded him, congratulating him. He had dreamed about this for years. He was excited, grateful, and slightly anxious. He knew that what he was chosen to do was important and he wanted to do it right. What a special day!
Each day in Jerusalem started with the assignment of duties. They assigned the common duties to any priest. There were just a few special duties everyone wanted to do, such as the daily burning of incense in the Holy Place. There were far more priests than special duties, so they cast lots to determine who would serve in the special duties for that day. In all his years of serving, they had never called Zechariah to serve in the special duties. That was okay. It was in God’s hands. There would always be another day and if not then, another year.
They started. A hush settled over the room. First, they assigned a priest to care for the temple lamps. Another to provide the shewbread. Next a priest was assigned to receive the free-will offerings. On it went. Various duties assigned name by name. They didn’t call Zechariah's name.
There was only one task left, the most desirable. It was to burn incense before the altar in the morning and the evening. One could only do this duty once in his life. They would choose one name for the morning and one for the evening. The only thing Zechariah could hear was his heartbeat. Some held their breath. Even those fortunate to be assigned other special duties remained motionless.
How he wished Elizabeth were in Jerusalem! He would run and tell her this wonderful news. A crowd surrounded him, congratulating him. He had dreamed of this day for years. He was excited, grateful, and anxious. He knew that what he was chosen to do was important and he wanted to do it right. What a special day!
Zachariah closed his eyes and prayed as he had many times. “Holy God, look upon me with favor and give him the privilege of this duty as a gracious gift.” They read the name for the morning sacrifice. It wasn't his. Zechariah could hear them draw the last name.
The room echoed with muffled conversations as the priests huddled catching up with friends they hadn’t seen in months. Zechariah had been through this experience many times, but the possibility of being chosen still filled him with a child-like excitement.
They saved the most desirable duties, those that took place inside the temple, for last. They called a priest to prepare the incense. They called a priest to remove the ashes from the inner altar. They selected a priest to handle the ashes from the candlestick. Zechariah wait but didn’t hear his name.
Finally, they would choose two priests to offer incense, one for the morning and one for the evening. Everyone stood motionless. Some held their breath. The only thing Zechariah could hear was his heartbeat.
"Zechariah."
They began to cast lots and a hush settled over the room. Each hoped they would call his name. First, they called a name to care for the lamps. Another to provide the shewbread. Next, they called the name of the priest to receive the free will offerings. So, it went, various duties assigned name by name. They didn’t call Zechariah's name.
He immediately started preparing with the other priest who would offer the morning incense. Every step of what they were to do was scripted. He listened carefully to the instructions. He practiced each step over and over. He was not from the family of the high priest so this was the pinnacle of his priestly duties. With God's help, he would make no mistakes.
He and the priest who would offer the morning incense left to prepare. Every step of what they were to do was scripted. He listened carefully to the instructions. He practiced each step over and over. This was the pinnacle of his priestly duties. With God's help, he would make no mistakes.
He joined the other priests and people at the temple for the burning of the morning incense. The priest offering the morning incense did everything exactly as they learned it. At the proper time he went in to the holy place.
They kept the most desirable duties for last. They called a name to prepare the incense. It wasn’t Zechariah. The next priest would scoop up the ashes from the inner altar. It wasn’t Zechariah. They read the name of the person who would remove the ashes from the candlestick. It was not Zechariah.
Zachariah closed his eyes and prayed as he had many times. “Holy God, look upon me with favor and give me the privilege of serving in this duty as a gracious gift.” They read the name for the morning sacrifice. It wasn't his. They drew the last name.
It happened! His name was called! He would burn the incense before the altar in the Holy place! Thanks be to God!
He wished Elizabeth were in Jerusalem! He would run and tell her this wonderful news. Friends surrounded him, congratulated him. He was grateful, excited, and anxious. It was a privilege to go into the Holy place to burn the incense. He wanted to do it right. What a special day!
There was only one task left, the most desirable. It was to burn incense before the altar. One could only do this duty once in his life. They would choose one name for the morning and one for the evening. At that moment, the only thing Zechariah could hear was his heartbeat. Some held their breath. Even those fortunate to be assigned other special duties stood motionless.
"Zechariah."
It was time for the morning sacrifice. He joined the other priest and people outside the temple. The priest assigned the duty for offering the morning incense went in to the holy place. All those outside, including Zachariah, offered prayers to God. Zechariah imagined what the priest was doing in the holy place, thinking through what he had been instructed that morning. After the appropriate amount of time the priest came out of the holy place, lifted his voice and prayed a blessing upon the people from , "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." And all the people together said, "Amen!"
Zechariah and with those gathered outside the temple offered prayers to God. Zechariah’s mind drifted and he imagined what the priest was doing in the holy place. He thought through each step as if he were doing it at that moment. Then, just when Zechariah imagined, as he had practiced, the priest stepped out of the holy place.
It happened! He would burn the incense before the altar in the Holy place! Thanks be to God!
Zachariah closed his eyes and prayed as he had many times. “Holy God, look upon me with favor and give me the privilege of this duty as a gracious gift.” They read the name for the morning sacrifice. It wasn't his. Zechariah heard them draw the last name.
He and the priest who would offer the morning incense immediately began to prepare. Every detail was scripted. He absorbed the instructions. He visualized what he would do. He practiced over and over. With God's help, he would make no mistakes.
He lifted his voice and prayed, "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."
Zechariah had no other daily duties so he returned to his room. He rehearsed what he would do, he prayed and worshiped God.
And all the people said, "Amen!"
Then they left for the temple. He joined the crowd gathered for the burning of the morning incense. The priest offering the morning incense did everything as they learned it. At the proper time he went in to the holy place.
"Zechariah."
He wished Elizabeth were in Jerusalem! He would run and tell her this wonderful news. Friends surrounded him, congratulated him. He was grateful, excited, and anxious for this privilege. He wanted to do it right. What a special day!
Zechariah returned to his room since he had no other duties that day. He rehearsed each step over and over. He prayed and worshiped God.
It happened! His name was called! He would burn the incense before the altar in the Holy place! Thanks be to God!
Those gathered outside the temple offered prayers to God. Zechariah’s mind drifted as he imagined what the priest was doing at that moment. Each priest did the same thing each time. Then, when expected, the priest stepped out of the holy place.
He and the priest who would offer the morning incense began to prepare. Priests who assisted the High priest taught them what to do. They described each step, every detail. He absorbed the instructions. He visualized what he would do. He practiced over and over. With God's help, he would make no mistakes.
Finally, it was time. Zachariah returned to the temple and put on the priestly garments. He walked to the temple as he had done hundreds of times before. But it wasn't like those other times. He knew he would remember this day for the rest of his life.
Finally, it was time. Zachariah returned to the temple and put on the priestly garments. He walked to the temple as he had done hundreds of times before. But no, it wasn't like those other times. This time he would enter the holy place. He carefully followed each step as he was instructed. He received the incense from another priest and entered into the holy place. He placed it on the altar and watched as the smoke ascended like the prayers of the saints. He thanked God for all of his blessings and prayed that God would hear their prayers.
He wished Elizabeth were in Jerusalem! He would run and tell her this wonderful news. Friends surrounded him, congratulated him. He was grateful, excited, and anxious. It was a privilege to go into the Holy place to burn the incense. He wanted to do it right. What a special day!
He stood before the people, and lifted his voice, "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."
It was time for the morning sacrifice. They went to the temple. He joined the crowd outside the temple. He watched as the priest leading them did everything in order. He entered the holy place.
He and the priest who would offer the morning incense immediately began to prepare. Every detail was scripted. He absorbed the instructions. He visualized what he would do. He practiced over and over. With God's help, he would make no mistakes.
He did everything as he was instructed. He received the incense from another priest. Then he entered the holy place. It was as he imagined. He placed the incense on the altar and watched as the smoke ascended like the prayers of the saints. He knew the people were praying outside and asked that God would hear their prayers.
And all the people said, "Amen!"
Those gathered outside the temple offered prayers to God. Zechariah’s visualized what the priest was doing at that moment. Then, when he expected, the priest stepped out.
Then he remembered Elizabeth’s words. “And for us, will you pray for us?”
He stood before the people and said, "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."
Then they left for the temple. He joined the crowd gathered for the burning of the morning incense. The priest did everything right. Then he went in to the holy place.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: "do not be afraid, Zachariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you were to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Zechariah sighed and relaxed. Until then he hadn’t realized how anxious he had been for his fellow priest. He had done well. Zechariah returned to his room to wait for the evening sacrifice. He spent the day rehearsing, praying, worshiping and waiting.
Hours later someone knocked on his door. It was time for Zachariah to serve. He returned to the temple and put on the priestly garments. He did everything as instructed. He received the incense. He entered the holy place. It was more beautiful than he imagined. He placed the incense on the altar and watched as the smoke ascended like the prayers of the saints. He could hear the people praying outside. He asked God to hear their prayers.
And all the people said, "Amen!"
He told her he would pray and so he would. “Lord, if it be your will, look upon me and my wife with favor and give us a son.”
All gathered outside the temple offered prayers to God. Zechariah’s mind drifted as he visualized what the priest was doing at that moment. Each priest did the same thing each time. Then, just when he expected, the priest stepped out of the holy place.
He stood before the people, and lifted his voice, "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."
Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Zechariah sighed and relaxed. He hadn’t realized how anxious he had been for his fellow priest. He had done well. Zechariah returned to his room. He spent the day rehearsing, fasting, praying, worshiping and waiting.
Then he remembered Elizabeth’s words. “And for us, will you pray for us?”
He told her he would pray. So, he did. “Lord, if it be your will, look upon me and my wife with favor and give us a son.”
Hours later someone knocked on his door. It was time. He returned to the temple and put on the priestly garments. He did everything as instructed. He received the incense. He entered the holy place. It was more beautiful than he imagined. He placed the incense on the altar and watched as the smoke ascended like the prayers of the saints. He heard the people praying. He asked God to hear their prayers.
And all the people said, "Amen!"
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
Zechariah sighed and relaxed. Until then he hadn’t realized how anxious he had been for his fellow priest. He had done well. Zechariah returned to his room. He spent the day rehearsing, fasting, praying, worshiping and waiting.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
The angel said to him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I've been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time."
He was ready to leave when he remembered Elizabeth’s words. “And for us, will you pray for us?”
Hours later someone knocked on his door. It was time. He returned to the temple and put on the priestly garments. He did everything as instructed. He received the incense. He entered the holy place. It was more beautiful than he imagined. He placed the incense on the altar and watched as the smoke ascended like the prayers of the saints. He could hear the people praying outside. He asked God to hear their prayers.
Then the angel disappeared. Zechariah was stunned. Had he seen a vision? Was it just his imagination? Did he really saw the angel Gabriel?
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
He told her he would pray. So, he did. “Lord, if it be your will, look upon me and my wife with favor and give us a son.”
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Then he remembered Elizabeth’s words. “And for us, will you pray for us?”
Then the angel disappeared. Zechariah wondered if he had seen a vision, if he had imagined what happened, or if he really saw the angel Gabriel.
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them.
He tried to pray the blessing upon them. No words came out. He didn’t imagine it. He saw Gabriel!
He told her he would pray. So, he did. “Lord, if it be your will, look upon me and my wife with favor and give us a son.”
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
Then the angel disappeared. Zechariah couldn’t move. Did that just happen? He looked around. He was alone. Had he seen a vision? Was it just his imagination? Did he really see the angel Gabriel?
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
The(y) (people) realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. He tried, but he was unable to pray the prayer of blessing upon them. Yes, he did in fact see the angel Gabriel. It wasn't something that he imagined.
He realized that he needed to move. He had offered the incense. What was next? Go out and pray God’s blessing on the people.
The angel disappeared. Zechariah didn’t move. Did that happen? He looked around. He was alone. Had he seen a vision? Was it his imagination? Did he see the angel Gabriel?
Priests huddled around him, peppering him with questions. He couldn’t communicate. Everyone understood he saw something in the holy place, but he couldn't tell them what.
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” Luke 1:11-20
22 When he came out, he could not speak to them.
The people realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home.
He left the Holy place. The next thing was to pray God’s blessing.
He tried to pray but no words came out. It was as Gabriel said. He didn’t imagine it!
Then the angel disappeared. Zechariah didn’t move. Did that just happen? He looked around. He was alone. Had he seen a vision? Was it just his imagination? Did he really see the angel Gabriel?
All the way home he thought of what he would tell Elizabeth. Actually, he couldn’t tell her anything, he couldn’t speak. Maybe that didn’t matter. They had been married so long she often knew what he was thinking! How did women do that?
Other priests huddled around him asking many questions. He tried to communicate but was unable to do so. Everyone understood that he saw something in the holy place, but he couldn't tell them what it was.
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.
The(y) (people) realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
At best it would be a guessing game, like it had been with the priests. He could say “yes” or “no” but that was it. Some gestures helped.
When he came out, he could not speak to them.
She met him, waving and smiling just like when he left. They hugged. “How are you? How was the trip?” she asked.
Priests huddled around him and peppered him with questions. He wanted to answer but he couldn’t. They knew something happened in the Holy Place, but he couldn't tell them what.
He realized he needed to move. He had offered the incense. Think. What was next? Go out and pray God’s blessing on the people.
He tried to pray, but no words came out. It was as Gabriel said. He didn’t imagine it!
The people realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
When he came out, he could not speak to them.
He pointed to his throat and mouthed the words, “I can’t talk.”
When the time of the service was completed, he returned home.
He was back in his room. He didn’t remember changing out of his priestly garments or walking there. He thought over and over again about what happened. He had been visited by the angel Gabriel. He and Elizabeth were going to have a son. That alone was a miracle. Not only that their son would be a great man, a forerunner to the Messiah! He laid awake most of the night thanking God.
He served the rest of his time as he normally did. Many asked him questions that he was more than happy to answer but he couldn’t. Everyone would know in time.
Priests huddled around him and peppered him with questions. He wanted to answer but he couldn’t.
“Are you sick? Sit down. Let me get you something to sooth your throat,” she said.
He tried to pray but no words came out. It was as Gabriel said. He didn’t imagine it!
He was back in his room. He didn’t remember changing out of his priestly garments or walking there. His mind raced. He saw Gabriel. They would have a son. He would be great, a forerunner to the Messiah! He laid awake most of the night. Praise God.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home.
The(y) (people) realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
He waved her off shaking his head.
What he would tell Elizabeth? Actually, he couldn’t tell her anything. Maybe that didn’t matter. They had been married so long she often knew what he was thinking! How did women do that?
He served the rest of his time as he normally did. Many asked him questions that he wanted to answer but he couldn’t. Everyone would know in time.
Priests huddled around him and peppered him with questions. He wanted to answer but he couldn’t. They knew something happened in the Holy Place, but he couldn't tell them.
“You’re not sick? What is it? What’s going on?”
He again pointed to his throat.
At best it would be a guessing game, like with the priests. He nod “yes” or “no” but that was it. Some gestures helped.
When his time of service was completed, he returned home.
He was back in his room. He didn’t remember changing out of his priestly garments or walking there. He thought over and over again about what happened. He had been visited by the angel Gabriel. He and Elizabeth were going to have a son. That was a miracle. Not only that their son would be a great man, a forerunner to the Messiah! He laid awake most of the night thanking God.
Elizabeth met him, waving and smiling just like when he left. They hugged. “How are you? How was your time of service?” she asked.
He served the rest of his time as he normally did. Many asked him questions that he was more than happy to answer but he couldn’t. Everyone would know in time.
“I know your throat is bothering you. What’s wrong?” she implored.
What he would tell Elizabeth? Actually, he couldn’t tell her anything. Maybe that didn’t matter. They had been married so long she often knew what he was thinking! How did women do that?
It would be a guessing game, like with the priests.
Zechariah then knew it was going to be a long nine months. He again slowly mouthed the words, “I can’t talk.”
He pointed to his throat and mouthed the words, “I can’t talk.”
When his time of service was completed, he returned home.
What he would tell Elizabeth? Actually, he couldn’t tell her anything. Maybe that didn’t matter. They had been married so long she often knew what he was thinking! How did women do that?
She frowned, “Are you sick? Sit down. I’ll get something to sooth your throat.”
“Oh, right, you can’t tell me. You can’t talk. Otherwise do you feel okay?” she asked?
Elizabeth met him, waving and smiling just like when he left. They hugged. “How are you? How was your time of service?” she asked.
He stopped her, shaking his head.
He pointed to his throat and mouthed the words, “I can’t talk.”
He nodded.
At best it would be a guessing game, like with the priests. He could nod “yes” or “no” but that was it. Some gestures helped a little.
“You’re not sick? What is it? What’s going on?”
Elizabeth met him, waving and smiling just like when he left. They hugged. “How are you? How was your time of service?” she asked.
Alarmed she said, “Are you sick? Sit down. I’ll get something to sooth your throat.”
“Okay, we’ll give it a few days. I want to know all about your trip. Was it a good trip? she asked.
Again, he nodded.
He again pointed to his throat.
He pointed to his throat and mouthed the words, “I can’t talk.”
He stopped her, shaking his head.
“What? What’s going on?”
“I know your throat is bothering you. What’s wrong?” she implored.
She frowned, “Are you sick? Sit down. I’ll get something to sooth your throat.”
“Fine,” she said. “You get unpacked. I know you’re tired and hungry. I want to tell you what happened around here when you were away.”
He stopped her, shaking his head.
Zechariah signed. It was going to be a long nine months. He again slowly mouthed the words, “I can’t talk.”
Elizabeth and her friends tried every remedy they could imagine to help someone who couldn’t speak. Zechariah patiently endured them all. He also did a lot of listening, more than ever in his life.
He again pointed to his throat.
“You’re not sick? What is it? What’s going on?”
“Oh, right, you can’t tell me. You can’t talk. Otherwise do you feel okay?” she asked?
“I know your throat is bothering you. What’s wrong?” she implored.
Day and weeks passed. One day Elizabeth came to him. “Zechariah, I have to tell you something,” she said.
Zechariah signed. It would be a long nine months. He again mouthed the words, “I can’t talk.”
Her smile made him smile. He leaned and turned his ear toward her to say, “I’m listening.”
He nodded.
He again pointed to his throat.
“I know your throat is bothering you. What’s wrong?” she implored.
He didn’t intend for her to come close, but she did. “I’m pregnant,” she whispered in his ear!
“Okay, we’ll give it a few days. I want to know all about your trip. Was it a good trip? she asked.
“Oh, right, you can’t tell me. You can’t talk. Otherwise do you feel okay?” she asked?
Zechariah signed. It was going to be a long nine months. He again slowly mouthed the words, “I can’t talk.”
He nodded.
He mouthed the words, “Really? Are you sure?”
Again, he nodded.
“Yes, I’m sure,” she said.
“Fine,” she said. “You get unpacked. I know you’re tired and hungry. I want to tell you what happened around here when you were away.”
“Okay, was it a good trip otherwise?” she asked.
“Oh, right, you can’t tell me. You can’t talk. Otherwise do you feel okay?” she asked?
Again, he nodded.
Their smiles gave way to an embrace which gave way to tears of joy.
He nodded.
Elizabeth and her friends tried every remedy they could imagine to help someone who couldn’t speak. Zechariah patiently endured them all. He also did a lot of listening, more than ever in his life.
Then she held him back at arm’s length. “Did you know? Did losing your voice have anything to do with this?”
“Fine,” she said. “You get unpacked. I know you’re tired and hungry. Since you can’t talk, I’ll tell you what happened when you were away.”
“Okay, we’ll give it a few days. I want to know all about your trip. Was it a good trip? she asked.
Day and weeks passed. One day Elizabeth sat beside him. She looked at him but didn’t say anything. She looked at him as if she were trying to figure something out.
Over the next few days, Elizabeth and her friends tried every remedy they could imagine for his voice. Zechariah endured them all. He also listened more than ever in his life.
Again, he nodded.
He shrugged.
He looked at her with wide eyes, as if to say, “Yes. Do you have something to say?”
She smiled ever so slightly. “Zechariah, I have to tell you something.”
“Zechariah?” she asked.
“Fine,” she said. “You get unpacked. I know you’re tired and hungry. I want to tell you what happened around here when you were away.”
Day and weeks passed. One day Elizabeth came and sat beside him. She looked and him but said nothing.
Her smile made him smile. He leaned and turned his ear toward her.
Elizabeth and her friends tried every remedy they could imagine to help someone speak. Zechariah patiently endured them all. He also did more listening than ever in his life.
He nodded.
His eyes widened expecting her to say something.
Day and weeks passed. One day Elizabeth sat beside him. She looked at him but didn’t say anything. She looked at him as if she were trying to figure something out.
She smiled. “Zechariah, I have to tell you something.”
He didn’t intend for her to come close, but she did. “I’m pregnant,” she whispered in his ear!
“Will you ever be able to speak again?”
Her smile made him smile. He leaned and turned his ear toward her.
He looked at her with wide eyes, as if to say, “Yes. Do you want something to say?”
He nodded again.
He faced her, their eyes caught. He mouthed the words, “Really? Are you sure?”
She smiled ever so slightly. “Zechariah, I have to tell you something.”
She sighed. “Then I will wait to hear the rest of the story. For now let us give thanks to the Lord, he has heard our prayers!
He didn’t intend for her to come close, but she did. “I’m pregnant,” she whispered in his ear.
“Yes, I’m sure,” she said.
He leaned back. Their eyes locked. He mouthed, “Are you sure?”
24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Their smiles gave way to an embrace which gave way to tears of joy.
Her smile made him smile. He leaned and turned his ear toward her.
He didn’t intend for her to come close, but she did. “I’m pregnant,” she whispered in his ear!
Then hands on his shoulders, she held him back at arm’s length. “Did losing your voice have anything to do with this?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
He shrugged.
Their smiles gave way to an embrace which gave way to tears of joy.
He leaned back. Their eyes locked. He mouthed, “Are you sure?”
Then she pulled back, hands on his shoulders at arm’s length. “Did losing your voice have anything to do with this?”
“Zechariah!?” she asked again.
“Yes, I’m sure.”
He shrugged.
Their smiles gave way to an embrace which gave way to tears of joy.
He nodded.
“Zechariah!?” she asked again.
Then she pulled back, hands on his shoulders at arm’s length. “Did losing your voice have anything to do with this?”
“Will you ever be able to speak again?”
He nodded.
He nodded.
He shrugged.
“Will you be able to speak again?”
“Zechariah!?” she asked again.
She sighed. “Then I will wait to hear the rest of the story. Now let us give thanks to the Lord, he has heard our prayers!
24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.
He nodded.
He nodded.
24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
“Will you ever be able to speak again?”
She sighed. “Then I will wait to hear the rest of the story. Now let us give thanks to the Lord, he has heard our prayers!”
Little by little, over the next few months Elizabeth came to understand what happened to Zechariah in the Holy Place. God blessed her by confirming one detail during a visit by her young cousin Mary. We will save that story for another time.
After this Elizabeth remained in seclusion [for five months].
He nodded.
25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
She sighed. “Then I will wait to hear the rest of the story. Now let us give thanks to the Lord, he has heard our prayers!
Little by little Elizabeth pieced together what happened. God confirmed this during a visit by her cousin Mary. That’s a story for another time.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
After this [his wife] Elizabeth [became pregnant and for five months] remained in seclusion [for five months].
57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Little by little, over the next few months Elizabeth came to understand what happened to Zechariah in the Holy Place. God blessed her by confirming one detail during a visit by her young cousin Mary. We will save that story for another time.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
Luke 1:57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
Zechariah’s Song
67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
Zechariah’s Song
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
Zechariah’s Song
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
69 He has raised up a horn z of salvation for us
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
in the house of his servant David
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
69 He has raised up a horn z of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
71 salvation from our enemies
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us—
and to enable us to serve him without fear
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
and to enable us to serve him without fear
through the forgiveness of their sins,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
79 to shine on those living in darkness
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
and in the shadow of death,
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
Related Media
Related Sermons