References – Amos 3:7; Revelation 22:6
OUTLINE OF LUKE 1:5-25
I. THE FAITHFUL IN A TIME OF DARKNESS (v. 5).
II. FAVORED BY GOD – DISFAVOR AMONG MENT (vv. 6-7).
III. THROUGH DIVINE APPOINTMENT THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE FAITHFUL HEART AND LIFE (vv. 8-17).
IV. FROM SILENCE TO JUBILATION (vv. 18-25 referencing vv. 57-80).
At the time of Zachariah and Elisabeth it had been about 400 years since God had spoken through a prophet. There had been no prophet for God’s people. It was a time of darkness; and there were praying and desparate souls longing/desiring for the presence of the glory of the LORD.
There was a Temple [Herod’s Temple- not yet finished], but no “Ark of the covenant”. It had not been recovered, and returned to the place – the Most Holy Place.
There was a favored couple – favored by God; probably viewed by the people as being disfavored by God due to having not been blessed with a child. Zachariah and Elisabeth had both been declared “Righteous” by God. This was “Favor”. When God declares one “Righteous” then, that one is “Righteous” indeed.
Zachariah had his once in a lifetime duty to fulfill. The MacArthur Study Bible note states:
“Because of the large number of priests, most would never be chosen for such a duty, and no one was permitted to serve in this capacity twice.”
In this of course we would see a Divine appointment. Does God not direct the fall of the “Lot”? Thus God gives a message to Zachariah that a messenger – foretold in Malachi 4:5-6 – is about to be conceived and born to he and Elisabeth.
This “incense altar” was to be kept burning perpetually. Morning and evening that one priest had privilege of tending the altar making sure the special fiery fragrance ascended to the throne of God. The The couple had been praying/longing/desiring a son, and as Zachariah goes about his duties he receives the answer.
It is interesting to note that the name Zachariah means “Jah has remembered” or “YHWH has remembered”. Through 400 years of silence God was working, and never forgot His people.
FAITHFUL IN A TIME OF DARKNESS (v. 5). As Zachariah and Elisabeth were faithful, they have been declared “Righteous” by God; so too are all who are in Christ Jesus. When we see wickedness abounding we have a word from God that “grace much more abounds” (Romans 5:20).
We must understand that our works, words, deeds, are worthy of righteousness. The righteousness of God is from God alone, declared by God alone. Righteousness comes as a gift from God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Even when God seems silent; be faithful; believing light is on the way. For many years Zachariah and Elisabeth kept on believing. Do we believe in God only for what He can give us? Do we believe in God only because of the good things He does? Do we believe in God only because of His power, His might, and awe-inspiring displays in creation? If we only believe during these things and only when they are visible to us; we will not be likely to stand faithful like Zachariah and Elisabeth during those dark times of life. Always trust the Lord, believing that there is a greater Light
FAVORED BY GOD – SEEN AS DISFAVORED BY GOD (vv. 6-7). Despite the seeming rejection by God, Zachariah and Elisabeth continue faithfully. Though others could not see it; most likely; they were counted by God as “Righteous”. Many people probably viewed them as cursed by God, and because of their faithfulness some may have wanted them to be cursed by God. Read Psalm 3:1-3.
They continued throught he many years looking/praying/desiring/waiting for a child. We must see, and remember that there is nothing that tells us that God had ever promised them a child.
The believer in Christ must continue looking/praying/desiring/waiting for the the promised return of our Savior. We live for our God who has pronounced us “Righteous”.
THROUGH DIVINE APPOINTMENT THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE FAITHFUL HEART AND LIFE (vv. 8-17). Have you ever started thinking, “It will never happen”? Maybe it was a desire, longing, or prayer you had prayed; you have kept asking, but deep in the recesses of your mind your thoughts were “It’s not going to happen.”
You may at this moment be praying for help with your income situation; your housing situation; matters of education; a health problem that is causing real worries or fear. Do you believe in God appointments? “God appointments” or “Divine appointments” are those things that to some will seem like ‘conincidences’, but to the child of God we know who ordains them. RIGHT? RIGHT.
God has a way of teaching us faith; growing, abiding faith, and that training never stops; until we see Jesus face to face. Then, I could not tell you for sure, but what we may also learn throughout all eternity.
Zachariah having waited many years to serve in the Temple, had also waited for a child with Elisabeth. It is sad to see so many people who are impatient, and cannot wait for anything. Far too many times I have grown impatient in matters of waiting. Who enjoys waiting at a traffic light, or even for a train to pass when you need to get over the tracks to the other side?
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “Is God delaying me for a purpose?” We may never know on this side of glory, but that delayed traffic may just be a Divine appointment for our safety somewhere down the road, beginning at the light we are sitting at.
Christians must learn the godliness of waiting. The Bible speaks much about waiting, and very little on “Hurry”.
The priest hears God speak through the angel Gabriel, and the message is good news of a son to the couple who had waited for many years. Now, this is God’s timing. It could not have been at a better time. The conception and birth of this son was going to bring such joy into their home, their lives, and their neighbor’s lives as well. Everyone was going to rejoice with Zachariah and Elisabeth.
The conception and birth of this son was going to be a fulfillment of prophecy (Malachi 4:-5-6). They would probably not be alive at the time of this prophet’s ministry. Zachariah is told to name his son “John”. A very specific message, with a very specific name.
This prophet would be a preparer of the way of the LORD, and the Lord’s name is Jesus.
FROM SILENCE TO JUBILATION (vv. 18-25 referencing vv. 57-80). While Zachariah is in the Temple fulfilling his duties, receiving the message, but not believing it he is stricken with dumbness (both mute and deaf – see v. 62). He comes out of the Temple, and cannot speak, and the people having seen him being so long in the Temple perceive that he must have received a vision from God (v. 22). Yet he could not speak.
Can you imagine being in your place of worship, conducting your duties in the church, and Gabriel comes to you with the message, “You will receive what you have been asking for.” You don’t believe this messenger, so he tells you that you are not going to be able to speak, because you have not believed. You cannot tell others of the blessing that is on the way. You must contain yourself, and only write on a piece of paper. You may now want to shout, but because of not believing in the first place you can’t.
Oh, how difficult we make things for ourselves at times because of our unbelief, or doubts.
John the prophet of God was born to Zachariah and Elisabeth in their old age. There was much joy and rejoicing. There was, in fact, much jubilation. When Zachariah admitted to the name John his mouth was open, his hearing returned and there was jubilation. When the Word of God is believed, and practiced in our lives others will hear and believe.
John would be the herald; the messenger of God proclaiming the coming of the Holy One of God, calling for repentance, and for the people to get right with God.
There is a day coming when Jesus will come again. We are the heralds of His coming today. We can be the means of others finding peace with God through Jesus Christ. We look forward to that day when we will stand with Jesus, worshipping Him, giving Him glory; and there will be great jubilation.
-Tim A. Blankenship