I’m reading the key passage for tomorrow’s message again this morning and noticed something very interesting. Luke 1:13 NLT: But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.”
I began to wonder if this was a prayer Zechariah prayed just once or thousands of times. He and his wife Elizabeth were OLD and well beyond child-bearing years. He was in the temple to do his priestly duty so I wonder if he prayed one more time for a child or had prayed many times before and now God chose to answer.
What’s interesting about this is that scripture tells us they were both “righteous” and “careful to obey God’s commands”. While many in their day were hypocrites, they maintained an authentic relationship with God in spite of being childless for so many years many would have given up hope of ever having a child. If a couple did not have a child in that culture, they were judged and maligned as having some sin in their life that kept God from blessing them with a child. So in spite of their righteousness and godliness, they were judged negatively by the people around them. This still happens a lot today.
But their circumstances were divinely ordered by God – not because of sin in their life – but because of His ultimate purpose. I believe their righteousness through the years, in spite of unanswered prayers for a child, prepared them for something out of the ordinary. They did have a son and were able to raise him to love and follow God. He was John – John the Baptist – who was the forerunner to the Messiah – Jesus. Think of the implications.