Text: Luke 1:5-25,67-80
Patience in well doing (vss 5-7)
- For 400 years Israel had nothing but silence from the LORD. Many Israelites were scattered all over the earth, but many were back in the land. They had a temple in Jerusalem but did not control the territory. Since the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian captivity, Gentile heathens ruled the land. The synagogues throughout Jerusalem and the territories of the middle east were filled with scriptures, what we’d call old testament, that were read weekly in anticipation of a coming Messiah, the Christ. The scriptures were written by holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Now, the time was right to reveal Christ, the centerpiece of the scriptures and the expectation of Israel. The last words of Hebrew prophets (Malachi 4:5-6).
- Luke chronicles the work of the Holy Ghost of God as that Spirit has spoken through the prophets and now works in the life of a faithful old priest and his wife to produce the herald of the LORD Jesus Christ, the forerunner, namely, John Baptist.
- Zacharias’ patience means he and his wife are doing right while wrestling with the LORD about their barrenness.
- There is no visible benefit to serving the LORD in their lives, yet they remain faithful.
God shows favor to these faithful (vss 8-14)
- Zacharias is administrating temple duties at the time of prayer. It’s his job to maintain the representation of prayer in the temple with incense. David said, Let my prayer be set before thee as incense.
- As he faithfully performed his duties in the temple for years and years, he’s now very old. Never having heard from the LORD, never having seen any visible results of his service to God until this moment. Zacharias sees this person standing at the altar of incense and is visibly shaken. This angel, Gabriel, says the time is right and you are right. The LORD has heard and will answer your prayer.
- To you and your wife will be born the greatest man that ever lived (apart from Christ of course). You’ll call him John.
- That name is a contraction of two Hebrew words that together mean Jehovah is gracious.
Parenting the greatest man that ever lived (vss 15-17)
- John the Baptist will be great according to God’s assessment of his life. Jesus would say that among men born of women there has never been born a man greater than John the Baptist.
- Not drunk with wine, never under the influence of anything that would cause him to lose his ability to make good decisions, but rather he’d be filled with the Holy Ghost.
- That power of God would be very evident in his ability to convert many souls.
- He would turn people to the LORD their God.
- He would have the spirit, probably the attitude and temperament of Elijah, to turn the fathers’ hearts to their children.
- He would win souls from disobedience to the wisdom of the just.
- He would make a group of people ready to meet the LORD.
- The testimony of God about John is not at all what the world will think of John. He’ll be more of a nuisance, but an interesting character nonetheless. He’ll be a novelty, but too critical to be godly, according to the world anyway.
Zacharias’ sign of silence (vss 18-25)
- Zacharias hears this news while he’s in the temple. He apparently is in there for hours because people are waiting for him outside and wondering what’s happened to him.
- Remember, the LORD has done nothing with the nation of Israel for centuries. And there has been no new revelation given and no Messiah.
- Furthermore, Zacharias and Elisabeth are old people who have never had children because Elisabeth couldn’t.
- But now, Zacharias hears all this and is in disbelief. Understandably. So the LORD proves the truth of what He said by making Zacharias mute until the birth of this boy.
- So Zacharias finishes his two-week hitch tending to the temple and he goes home with his wife Elisabeth. Immediately, and miraculously, she conceives. And for nine months Zacharias cannot form words to say as he’s mute.
Zacharias is filled with the Holy Ghost (vss 57-79)
- The naming of John is the first time in 9 months that Zacharias has been able to talk. This is what Zacharias prophecies by the Holy Ghost of God.
- First preaches Christ:
- Preaches God manifest in the flesh (vss 68-69)
- Preaches Jesus Christ the savior. That Jesus Christ is the subject of all prophecy. Meaning that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. As the light would shine in darkness and as the daystar, Jesus Christ, should arise in your hearts, so Jesus Christ would enter the world as the Sun rises in the morning (vss 69-73).
- Preaches Jesus Christ will bring an opportunity to serve the living God free from the bondage of sin. That he would liberate a people, called by his name, to serve God in holiness and righteousness.
- Then prophecies of his son John:
- John will be called the prophet of the Highest
- John will prepare the way of the LORD (See Isaiah 40:1-3).
- John will be the forerunner pointing to the salvation of God and teaching the people how to prepare for the coming of the LORD by testifying of the Light that is Jesus Christ.
Parenting a great child (vs 80)
- This child will not be like other children. He won’t be a drunkard, but filled with the Holy Ghost.
- John grows strong in spirit. Is he athletic? Who knows? That won’t help him have power with God. Is John good-looking? Who knows? Doesn’t matter because it’s not what his life is about anyway.
- John will grow strong in spiritual matters: love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, longsuffering, discernment, judgment, and righteousness. Can you handle your son being separated from the crowd mom? Dad? Can you handle him not having what every other kid has? Our children can’t please God if 90% of what we do takes them away from the things of God. And 90% of what we give them is a distraction from spiritual matters. Most parents want a child whose feelings aren’t hurt instead of a child who is godly.