Who Forgot Who?
We are in the Gospel of Luke… today we are going to tackle most of one of the largest chapters in the Bible (80 verses!) We are going to be looking at the events of a man by the name of Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth:
He is a priest
They are said to be considered righteous in the sight of God
I am so glad God is watching!
An angel will visit him
God will work a miracle
In the end this priest will prophesy and praise God…
BUT FIRST! Let’s rewind and go back 400 years...
Holman- “Malchi rebuked God’s people for specific violations of the covenant, such as laws concerning sacrifices, divorce, and tithes, but he also prophesied the coming of the Messenger who will set things right.”
At first glance it would appeared God had been silent or forgotten for 400 years after sending Malachi to the people and declaring His promise...
Feelings of forgotten as a nation
Zacharias forgotten as a priest (will God speak again?)
Elizabeth forgotten as she is barren no children
When in reality, God had not forgotten, but was DOING what he promised!
& declare what God will do in the coming future...
1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.
4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. 5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
The world stage had to be set… made ready for His Messenger who would come:
Daniel had prophesied the things that would occur before the Messiah would come
Alexander the Great would come in… create one language Greek
His empire would be divided four way among his generals
Eventually Rome would take over the world… roads being developed for transportation!
God had not forgotten… On the contrary, He was remembering His promise, fulfilling His Word! In fact His promises… THE PROMISE goes all the way back to the beginning!
The Seed of the woman would deliver a death blow to Satan
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
We see the three sons of Noah and there is a blessing passed to Shem
25 So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27 “May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.”
Through Abraham’s seed all men would be blessed this is made clearer in Genesis 15
3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Abraham had many sons… Yet Issac is the one God’s blessing was with.
Isaac had two sons yet the blessing (Promise) was with Jacob… The God of Abraham, Issac & Jacob.
Jacob had 12 sons… Jacobs name is changed by God to Israel (one who wrestles with God)
God’s blessing of promise is passed from Jacob to Judah in Indicating the One to come would be royal, a ruler King.
10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
From the line of Judah comes a man who was anointed king by the name of David… in and God Promises this...
16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”
The Hebrew word: mashiyach, meaning “the anointed” gradually became a title for the Promised Savior-King Messiah!
God did NOT forget… He had been working all along in even the smallest of details!
NOW… back to Luke.
We Can Take God at His Word!
We Can Take God at His Word!
Priest had their turns to serve in the temple… this was Zacharias’ time
Selected to go in and offer incense (prayers) to God… Usually on behalf of the people of Israel
And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
I don’t think this man was praying for a son… too old.
Praying for the people, felt forgotten, feeling the oppressions of the Romans, whatever it was GOD HEARD!
Wow! the angel states the Zacharias’ son will fulfill the prophecy of Malachi
Your son will prepare for the Promised Messiah
It Is Time! The Messiah is coming!!!
What God says WILL HAPPEN!
Moody- Zacharias ought to have been focusing on the divine “promise” of the message, not the human “problems” of the message.
Did you miss it? Do you doubt God due to human limitations?
The Promise of the scriptures was being fulfilled and this is Zacharias’ response…
Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
Several lessons here:
Be careful when you ask God to prove it or for a sign!
This was good news, not intended to create a problem
The last words he could hear was the promise, his last words were questioning God
God has a time table and a plan, He is NEVER late and always stays true to His Word
God’s Hand Working Deserves Praise
God’s Hand Working Deserves Praise
“ His Name is John”
These are the words Zacharias would write on a board for the questioning crowd…
Wait a minute… Zacharias, he’s not going to carry your name?
NO this baby boy would carry something much greater… the message that the Messiah has come repent!
His Faith to obey and listen loosed his tongue… He begins to prophesy for all there to hear and share!
And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant— As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old— Salvation from our enemies, And from the hand of all who hate us; To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Look at the people’s response to all they heard and had seen…
Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
Darrel Bock- The story’s close indicates that the Lord’s hand was with him. Luke is saying, in effect, “Be assured, Theophilus or any other reader of my account, that God was in these most unusual events.” When God’s hand is mentioned, usually an opportunity for deliverance is around the corner!