Do you know who is not considered much concerning the purpose of Jesus? The priest, Zechariah. He was also married to Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin. Zechariah and Elizabeth had prayed for years for a child and miraculously conceived in their old age. It was their son, John the Baptist, who led the way for Jesus. Jesus later said of his cousin that there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11).
Our behind-the-scenes hero, Zechariah, was the first person in four hundred years to receive a direct word from God that is recorded in Scripture. An angel tells Zechariah that he will soon have a son born to him. But Zechariah does not believe the word given by God.
Luke 1:18-20 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
Our hero needed a sign of a miracle, and being deprived of the power of speech did it. So, what makes this unbelieving Priest a Hero? One, being the first to hear from God in four hundred years, is worthy. Next, after this little crisis of unbelief, Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesies. He obeys God as the angel instructs and raises his son, John the Baptizer, as a Nazarite, a holy man pledged to the Lord.
What a contribution to God’s plan to save the world from sin.
We can learn so many things from Zechariah’s story. To name a few, we must persevere in prayer, obey God’s commands, and know that all things are possible with God.
Which one of these lessons resonates with you in this season? Maybe you are on a journey and need to say, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” (Luke 9:24). Maybe it’s time you start praying with belief, “knowing everything is possible for one who believes.” (Luke 9:23)
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