It's been a few weeks since I have joined my friend Gina at Chats with an Old Lady for "What are YOU Learning." I am so glad to be joining in today!
I have been studying the Gospel of Luke the past few weeks and have been enjoying it so much! Our wonderful God has given us such a gift....His Word. I LOVE the Old Testament as well as the New. But, when I read the Gospels, I am inspired and refreshed and encouraged like nothing else! It is amazing to watch our incredible Lord perform miracles, teach such pearls of wisdom, and speak such beautiful words. And, as I have been reading Luke, I have found there is so MUCH to learn! Each chapter....each passage....each verse is filled with so much! Thank You, Lord!
Father, I pray that You will give us deep insight into Your Word today. Thank You, God for a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know You better!
I am just going to share on one very small part of Luke...chapter 1...BEFORE the birth of Jesus. First of all, let's get to know Luke a bit. He wasn't one of the 12 disciples...but he was a follower of Jesus. He says, "...I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning. It seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you..." He was a doctor. That brings so much revelation right there! He will "see" things a little differently than a fisherman or a tax collector! He will notice details and have an understanding of some things that someone who hasn't studied biology wouldn't.
He doesn't begin his Gospel with a genealogy (although he includes one in chapter 3). Instead, he sets the stage with the birth of John the Baptist. He begins by telling us about John's parents- Elizabeth and Zechariah. He says "both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." BUT there was one BIG problem with this couple- they hadn't had any children AND they were "well along in years."
If there is one thing I have seen in scripture- it is that it is NOT a good thing to be barren in Bible times! There is a stigma and SHAME that goes along with it.
Now, Zechariah was a priest. I have read that in those times, the priests would take turns doing different duties. But, it was a rare thing to actually be the priest to go into the temple to burn incense before the Lord. THIS is a HUGE thing! We don't always understand it because we have the privilege here in American to go into church anytime and as Christians, we enter into the Lord's presence anywhere. But, for Zechariah, this was the TOP honor in his duties in priesthood. I also have read that this honor was only once in a lifetime.
So, Zechariah's "division" was on duty and he was "serving as priest before God." Then, it was time to choose by lot who would go INTO the temple of the Lord. Drum roll please.....yep. Zechariah's lot was chosen. What a coincidence! NOT! I just LOVE reading about God's sovereignty! Let's draw straws to see who goes in today. Looks like you, Zechariah.
"All the assembled worshippers were praying outside the temple." I know that everything in the Bible is important, so I don't want to just slide past this without noticing. God's people were praying.
Meanwhile, inside, Zechariah is burning incense and Gabriel, the angel appears to him!
The Bible says he is "gripped with fear." But, the angel tells him not to be afraid. He then goes on to tell this man of God that he and Elizabeth, despite their old age will have a son. The angel tells him to name the son JOHN. And, then, listen to this! The angel says, "He will be a joy and delight to you..." What parent doesn't long to hear that???? This child will be a JOY and DELIGHT to them. Gabriel goes on, "and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth (or from the womb). Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. "
Then, Gabriel goes on to say, "And he will go before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous- to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
This is amazing! Elijah is VERY important to the people of Israel and the angel tells Zechariah that his son will go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah!
I was reading in Malachi, the prophet, and found this. "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers."Malachi 4:5-6
Since Zechariah was a priest and the Bible says he observed all the Lord's commands. I know he had to study. He surely would have recognized these words from the prophet!
So, here he is, in the temple of the LORD with an angel before him speaking words of the prophet, telling him about a miracle that God will perform through him and Elizabeth, taking part in an amazing plan of God....bringing many people back to the Lord! THRILLING!
So, how does Zechariah react? Does he jump for joy? Fall down on his knees? Raise his hands to worship the LORD?