Summary: The frist of two sermons comparing and contrasting the responses of Mary and Zacharias to the announcement by the angel of the upcoming births of their sons.



Luke 1:5-25

I. Godliness of Zachariah and Elizabeth 5,6

A. Priest and daughter of a priest

B. Godly - Righteous, obedient, blameless

Significance - Israel under Herod the Great endured a deplorable political status

and their spiritual life was not much different.

Herod - "His character was typical of an age that had produced so

many men of intellect w/o morals, ability w/o scruples,

and courage w/o honor." Will Durant

10 wives - 9 at 1 time. Had Mariamne executed.

Executed Alexander, Aristobolus, and Antipater - his


Built both a theatre and amphitheater in Jer. Greek

architecture. The nudity of the Greek statues "Startled

the Jews as much as the nakedness of the wrestlers at

the games."

After his death, "He stole to the throne like a fox, ruled

like a tiger and died like a dog."

Application: When H. ascended to the throne, he was told by the Sanhedrin

that they could not have him, a Gentile rule over them. For their stand, they

were met with death and replaced by religious leaders who fed at Herod’s

trough. By the time of Z. and E., godly priests were few and far between. It

is a tremendous testimony to the faith and fidelity of Z. and E. that Luke

says of them, "And they were both righteous before the God, walking in all

the commandments and ordinaces of the Lord blameless."

II. Grief of Zacharias and Elizabeth 7

Ps. 127:3 "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is

his reward."

Hannah I Sam. 1:5 "The Lord had shut up her womb."

Gen. 30:23 - God remembered Rachel and hearkened unto her and opened her


Deep silent sorrow in their hearts for to be childless was considered a sign of

divine displeasure.

III. The Glory of Zacharias 8-1

20,000 priests, 24 courses (vs. 5 - Abijah) each twice a year for 8 days. Duties

chosen by lot. Z. burning incense, which could only happen once in a lifetime.

This was the pinnacle of his career, the highlight of his life. Even more so, as

he so devoutly loved God. This would have been an intensely emotional time

for him (old man) A deeply sacred time of introspection, reverence, and


IV. The Greeting by Gabriel 11-22

9 a.m., time of morning worship. Massive temple gates swung open, three

trumpet blasts called the people to worship.

One of the Levites reverently cleaned the altar and left, a 2nd placed live coals

from the burnt offering on the altar and left as well. Finally, Z. enters the Holy

Place alone, bearing the golden censer. On his right, 7-branched golden

candlestick. On his left, table of shewbread. Directly in front of him is the altar

of incense from which the incense would be ignited. Beyond the altar, the veil,

which separated the Holy of Holies. Z. was as close to the presence of God as

any human being ever got, except the high priest when he once a year went in to

make atonement. Suddenly to his right….

What exciting news he brings, but Z. doesn’t believe.

Application - Our unbelief in prayer. Vs. 13,20

V. The Gladness of Elizabeth 23-25

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