Nov. 28, 2021
5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,
9According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
16And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
23And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
Hebrews 12:14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
And so begins the magnificent story. The baby Elizabeth conceives is John, later known as the Baptist. It’s important to remember that Elizabeth and Zacharias were not without sin but that they served God faithfully. It’s interesting to note that Elizabeth and Zacharias were not Levites but also from a priestly group and God shows His special timing as in this priestly group, no man could offer incense more than once in a lifetime. (KJ study Bible)
I chuckle to myself when I think of the angel Gabriel. Talk about being a lucky angel – he gets to announce the wonderful news of babies coming. This first baby who will lead many to repentance and so prepare the way of the Lord, and then the First and only Baby who will save the world. Gabriel must be highly favored (in my opinion) to be given these messages.
I have to admit I’m just a big kid at heart and reading these verses from St. Luke just get me excited to get to part where Gabriel speaks to a young woman whose life is about be changed beyond measure.
There are times when I have trouble figuring out what one set of verses have to do with another set but in this case, it’s fairly obvious. Hebrews 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” is a sign post as well as an instruction. The Prince of Peace is coming, as that is the direction the verses in St. Luke are heading in, and also the instruction to follow the ways of peace and make oneself worthy to see the Lord. A tall task but worth the effort – we are given so much more than we ever could hope for. Hurry Christmas!