The Christmas Story begins when an angel visits Zacharias
Treasure the Quiet Moments wouldn’t be complete without reading through the Christmas story. Each week we will ponder a portion in Matthew and Luke.
Today we are reading in Luke 1:5-25 ESV
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Pondering the Christmas Story – Zacharias
The last echo of God’s voice to His people through the prophets resulted in 400 years of silence because of their unbelief. Not a word was heard from the LORD until the angel Gabriel spoke to Zacharias in the temple.
God’s sovereignty and timing are evident as I read this account. Zacharias’ service in the temple was by lot and order, meaning each priest was scheduled to serve in the temple for one week of his lifetime. Three priests serve together—one clearing away the old ashes—one bringing the hot coals from the sacrificial fire—and one to offer the incense onto the hot coals as he prayed for repentance.
Zacharias was the priest who prayed as smoke of the incense rose to the heavens. It was amidst the smoke that Gabriel broke the silence. He announced that Zacharias’ prayer for a child has been heard. He and his barren wife Elizabeth would have a son named John and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb.
This is John the Baptist who would prepare the way for the Messiah just thirty years in the future.
Because of Zacharias’ unbelief, the angel tells him he will be silent until John is born. I wonder if this mirrored an extension of the prophetic silence to Zacharias?
The people who gathered to pray began to wonder what was taking Zacharias so long in the temple? When he emerged, only cryptic signs were expressed. What happened? A vision, so mysterious that it took away his ability to hear and speak. His priestly blessing over the people would be impossible.
Despite Zacharias’ unbelief, God brings about the conception of the promised son. This miracle sets the stage for our Christmas story.
Imagine what nine months of silence was like for Zacharias. What would he have missed?
As a priest, what thoughts might he have about all that transpired in the temple?
As a priest, do you think the Angel expected a different response from Zacharias?
As you ponder this portion of the story, I would love to hear what you glean. There is so much here. Too much for a short blog post. Add your thoughts in the comments.
Pondering with you,
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