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 John.” (Luke 1)
I love this part of the story. The Lord has promised Zechariah a son. I can relate to how he’s feeling at this point, because the Lord granted me a son also.
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. – Psalm 127:3
But that’s only part of the reason I love this Scripture. The larger reason for liking this passage is because of the truth it reveals: “your prayer has been heard.” God HEARS our prayers – all of them. In the case of Zechariah’s prayer, the Lord granted Zechariah’s prayer.
Unfortunately, we don’t all receive answers to our prayers when we think we should. But God has a GREATER plan than we do. We need to practice patient obedience as we live our lives. It’s NOT that God doesn’t hear us – He does! But we need to remember that God can see much more than we can and His plan considers many aspects that we don’t think about or possibly don’t know.
So always remember this (put your name in blank below):
Do not be afraid, __________; your prayer has been heard.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
I stopped at this point, because I feel there is something we can learn from this brief part of the Christmas story. It is obedience. Although Zechariah was chosen by chance to be the priest to offer incense at the altar, we find in the following passage that he quickly obeyed and entered the sanctuary to burn the incense as instructed. He didn’t doubt, he didn’t pause – he immediately obeyed.
I wonder how many times that we know “what Jesus would [have us] do,” but are slow in obedience or flatly reject His call. What would Jesus do? He would obey. He proved that through His life and death here on earth. He gave His life so that we could have life: the ultimate obedience – giving one’s life for another.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends – John 15:13
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. – John 1:6
This is the beginning of the Christmas story. Although the birth of Jesus, and the travels of the Wise Men to Him are some of the most popular scenes associated with Christmas, it is important to rewind to a time when Zechariah and Elizabeth are promised a baby (John).
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. – Luke 1
Please join me tomorrow as I speak concerning John’s testimony
“He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.” – John 1:7