As the Gospel of Luke opens, we jump right in to the action, anticipating the Savior and Great High Priest who would sacrifice His life for us. The people had gone through a period of silence from God and almost a steady constant silence. Life became slow. The people went through the motions of their habits becoming numb to their ineffectiveness. They craved God, wondering where he was but growing numb to the silence.
Enter Zechariah. A priest, chosen by drawing straws to go in the temple and perform the priestly duties. To him, it was just an ordinary day. However, God has a habit of taking the ordinary and transforming them into something more. In the midst of the mundane, the timing of God was perfect and His hand would be revealed. Of course, God had been busy during the time of silence, and now the time was right for greatest rescue mission of love to begin.
Zechariah would be the father of John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel revealed himself to Zechariah and told him everything that would happen by the hand of God through John the Baptist. Yet, for some reason, despite the appearance of Gabriel, Zechariah doubted and Gabriel removed his power of speech from him.
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.” – Luke 1:19-20
As you read through Luke 1:5-25, you can’t help but see the faith of a high priest waiver amidst the sight of the supernatural. From the life of Zechariah, we can ask ourselves a few questions.
Do You Expect?
For Zechariah, this was a normal day. The priest chose him, randomly, by casting lots to do the normal duties. It was a normal day during a normal time. Nothing spectacular happened just the normal duties continuing during a time that it seemed that God forgot. Yet, God spoke. Not only spoke, but moved. Where the world seems silent, God began to change the very fabric of nature and existence by preparing for the coming of a the Savior.
Spiritual drought is real and happens to all of us. We all go through times when we don’t feel the presence of God as strong as we have in the past. Or we don’t hear God in our prayers as much as we expect. When we feel the spiritual drought we must remember that God is still moving. We can trust that God will be able to speak to us through any difficulty for no difficulty is bigger than Him. We can go through our day expecting to hear God speak to us knowing that He is always moving.
Do You Believe?
Zechariah, out of everything he was experiencing, still doubted. His first instinct was to doubt all that would be done by his son to usher in the coming Savior because he doubted God could even provide a son! Where Elizabeth had been barren, Zechariah had stopped thinking a son was even possible. When Gabriel spoke this grand miraculous plan, Zechariah did not even think it was possible to have a son. Yet, the word from God was clear. Zechariah would be a Father and his son would be significant for the world.
No matter what the circumstance, we can believe that God can do what He says He will do. Believing God can be difficult because it involves trusting blindly with no reassurances or evidence. God does not need to prove himself. God has a whole history of doing what He says He will do. We should remember that history when presented with the promises of God. When we are presented with the impossible by the hands of God, we can believe that, in God, all things are possible.
This story is only the beginning. As Luke, the physician writes to Theophilus, the coming of the perfect sacrifice is underway. Luke begins with the breaking down of the old covenant system as we see the lapse in faith of a priest give way to the coming of our Great High Priest and our Perfect Sacrifice. Zechariah will be the father of the herald of the coming Messiah. The whole system is changing. The Savior is coming.