Summary: Zacharias, and his wife Elizabeth, were good people. They loved the Lord and attempted to follow after Him with all their heart. They were well thought of people, both being descendants of Aaron; however, there was one major blight on their life: they h
For several weeks, I have been meditating on the biblical account of Zacharias being approached by the angel Gabriel and given the news about soon to be birth of John The Baptist.
The first thing I want to deal with is that angels are real. There is a great deal that we do not know about angels, but there are some things that we do know. For instance, we know from Hebrews 1:14 that they are “all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation.” In Psalm 91:11-12 we are told, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” So we can see, from these and other verses, that angels are beings which God has created for our benefit. There is an organization of angels, and Gabriel seems to be an angel of high rank, however, the Bible does not specifically say that he is an archangel. The only angel who is called an archangel is Michael, who is always seen as a warring angel. Gabriel, on the other hand, is always seen delivering very important messages for God. We are in perfect order to ask God to send His angels to protect us in areas where we perceive danger.
Zacharias, and his wife Elizabeth, were good people. They loved the Lord and attempted to follow after Him with all their heart. They were well thought of people, both being descendants of Aaron; however, there was one major blight on their life: they had no children. In their day, not having children was viewed by the religious world as a curse, and having children was viewed as the blessing of God. I am certainly not prepared to say that not having children is a curse, but I will enthusiastically say that having them is a great blessing. I say that, not from my opinion, although that certainly is my opinion, but I say it based on Psalm 127:3-5, along with the implication of that same truth in many other scriptures.
A great day came in Zacharias’ life, when he was selected to serve in the temple. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be inside burning the incense, while all the multitude, with the other priests, were outside praying. Only one person was allowed in this holy place of the temple at this time, and now it had become his turn. I suspect his heart was filled with praise and thanksgiving for this great opportunity of service. It was something he and Elizabeth, and other family and friends, could talk about for years to come. But he didn’t have any idea just how great this day really was. Isn’t that the way life is? Every day has the potential to be the greatest day of your life. Luke 1:37 says, “With God nothing shall be impossible!” I would encourage you to make some of the first words that come out of your mouth, each day, words of praise, thanksgiving, and commitment to God for that day. I would encourage you to look forward to the events of the day with overflowing excitement, because you are in Christ.
Suddenly, Zacharias realized that there was a presence in that holy room, and soon he found himself looking at an angel. The first thing this angel, Gabriel, said to Zacharias is what angels always have to say to people when they become visibly present in their sight: “Don’t be afraid.” We recently had a Children’s Christmas Musical at church, and we had some of the cutest little angels you’ve ever seen in your life. Three of them were about 1 year old, and their mother’s stood on stage and held them up at the point where the heavenly host were praising God. That scene just blessed all of us, but the reality is, angels are never portrayed that way in the Bible. They are portrayed as powerful beings, fearful to behold, and always in the masculine gender. We have a tendency to dress our pretty little girls up in angel costumes, but that’s not what the Bible tells us.
Gabriel told Zacharias that his “prayer had been heard.” Let me share some things that we need to realize about prayer.
Prayer is worthwhile activity
We are instructed to pray. In Luke 18:1, Jesus said, “Men ought to always pray and not faint,” or not give up. In James 4:2, God’s word says, “...you have not, because you ask not.” God has so ordained that there are some things that He would do, but that He will not do unless we ask.
Prayer is answered in God’s timing and in the best way
Gabriel said, “Your prayer has been heard.” How long do you suppose Zacharias and Elizabeth had been praying for a child? Was it just that morning? No, from John’s response to the news, I suspect that they had stopped praying. I would imagine that, soon after they married and they saw that they weren’t having children, they started asking God to give them a child.