December 17 2023

Book: Luke


Bible Passage: Luke 1:5-25

Zacharias was a priest, married to a woman named Elisabeth, but they had no children.

Humanly speaking, there was no way for them to have a child, but God intervened, and gave
them the child they so desperately wanted.

Although these events took place months before the birth of Jesus Himself, these events are a
guide or marker towards that day when the Son of God did come to earth as a newborn Baby!

The main points are these: Zachariah’s despair, that he had no child; his doubt, in that he and
his wife were too old to have children; and finally, his discipline, in that he was made mute until
the baby was born.

Zacharias: his despair

Luke 1:5-7, KJV: 5 There 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. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was
barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

–To be childless in those days was considered a sign of God’s disapproval.
Name Other women who could not bear children include Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah’s
wife (mother of Samson) and Hannah.

–Zacharias was a priest, but apparently not the High Priest.

Luke does not mention that he did anything besides offer incense (see verses 8-11) while
serving in the Temple and perhaps would speak something to the people (verse 22),
–He also had the privilege of seeing an angel face to face. And this was no ordinary angel, this
one was Gabriel, who had only appeared to one other person (so far as we know), Daniel up to
this time (Daniel 8:6, 9:21).

Gabriel would also appear in person to Mary (Luke 1:26-29).

–Gabriel informed Zacharias that his prayers would be answered!
After all these years of despair, God saw fit to answer the desire of Zacharias and Elisabeth.
But how did Zacharias respond?

Zacharias: his doubts
Luke 1:18, KJV: 18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an
old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
–Zacharias made a reply that seems innocent enough on the surface.

Abraham and Sarah both laughed at the idea of having children: they were 99 and 89 years of
age respectively when God promised Isaac to them (Genesis 17:17-19, 18:11-15).

–But at the same time, Zacharias was expressing doubts, not only in himself and his wife due
to their ages, but also towards God.

Where was his faith?

Had he, or was he beginning to lose what faith he might have had?

–Only God and Zacharias knew for sure what took place when Gabriel delivered the message
plus Zacharias’ attitude towards the message.

God knew Zacharias would not believe the message and proceeded to administer some very
strong discipline to him.

Zacharias: his discipline
Luke 1:19-20, KJV: 19 And 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. 20
And, 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.

–Why God allowed this sudden muteness to happen to Zacharias is based only on his lack of

God had disciplined other believers for lack of faith:

1. Moses saw his hand turn from healthy to leprous—and then God told him to put the hand
into his bosom (skin to skin contact!).

2. The Israelites refused to heed Joshua and Caleb, who said “the land (of Canaan) is ours,
let’s go and with God’s help we’ll take it!” choosing instead to return to Egyptian slavery
(Numbers 14) but received the discipline of wandering in the desert wilderness for 38 years.
All their hopes died, even as they did, because of their lack of faith. Other examples could be

–Later in this passage the people wondered why Zacharias remained so long in the Temple.
He couldn’t say anything to them (the muteness was in effect by now) so had to communicate
using a form of sign language.

–He remained mute until the baby was born.

At least nine months of not being able to say a word, and all because he didn’t believe the
words of God delivered through Gabriel.

–Once it was time for John to be born, Zacharias received his voice back and one of the first
things he did was sing a song of praise (verses 67-79)!

Conclusion You and I will probably never face anything like this but we will have our own
moments of
Despair – broken hearts
Doubts – fear of the unknown
Discipline – corrected about our faith

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