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.
THE PRIEST AND THE PEASANT GIRL
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
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
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
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