Zacharias, means “the Lord remembers.” Since the law of Moses insisted that a priest marry only a woman of good reputation, Zacharias had chosen the daughter of another priest to be his wife. Not only was she a descendant of Aaron, but she bore the name of Aaron’s own wife, Elisheba or Elizabeth, which means “the oath of God.” Their names would bring new significance before the sun set on their life together. “And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6). The lives of both Zacharias and Elizabeth were pleasing to God. They submitted to the will of God and obeyed the Word of God. And they did it “in the sight of God,” and rather than making a good showing before people, their emphasis in life was to give God praise & glory for all they were. In that they were different from most of their contemporaries. They did not seem to care about the status that went with the priesthood. They lived in some obscure village in the hilly region south of Jerusalem rather than, as the other priests, in the elite section of the city itself, or in Jericho, the luxurious city of the palms. (Luke 1:39 & 65) Their piety was not just a show; they were in a relationship with God. But this righteous couple had a big problem. They were childless! Sometimes God does allow ugly problems to invade our lives for no other purpose but to help us grow, and no amount of obedience can bring immunity from trials. They had “…no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years” (Luke 1:7). Many Jewish Rabbis insisted that it was evidence of divine dislike. While Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous before God, some of their friends probably suspected them of serious secret sin. But regardless, they believed God knew their heart & daily life, and that was all that really mattered. Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit, Eccl. 7:8.
The encounter Zacharias had with the angel Gabriel (Dan. 8:16) was yet another trial, but this test too, he would pass! Returning home after his dutiful course had completed its ministry, (Luke 1:23-25) to his own house in the hill-country of Judah, his wife Elisabeth conceived a son, and spent five months following in retirement, until of course she couldn’t hide the pregnancy any longer. The nation had looked forward to this for centuries, and God had chosen this godly couple to be part of these thrilling events. Their excitement mounted daily, until “the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she brought forth a son” (Luke 1:57). They are a classic example of the mundane as far as the world was concerned, but one single event in their life is what they lived for, to see their son and raise him to be the Messiah’s fore-runner! Their introduction to this grand occasion was fraught with Zacharias being mute, and even deaf. (1:62-63) His lack of faith in his response to the detailed announcement, resulted in a “proof”, being a miraculous inability to speak or hear. We should not be too harsh on him, after all, the Apostles doubted the testimony of the women after the resurrection of Jesus, Mt. 28:17 & Mk. 16:11, and also Thomas doubted the testimony of the other apostles, Jn. 20:24-25. Sometimes we might be truly righteous, but one thoughtless act of doubt while in a panic can result in awful consequences, but even through this trial, if we remain faithful, the Lord’s promise is kept and we are blessed.
What do we live for? These family members of Christ, were not noteworthy by worldly standards, but what would the family of Christ be, without them? Do we have members like that today? This couple only had one talent between them, their love, which God turned into a baby! Please read the words of Jesus, Matthew 25:27, Are you making an investment in love?
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