This begins a series on the characters of the Passion of Christ for Lent
An empty cradle sat collecting dust in the quiet home of an elderly couple. The woman prayed for many years to have children, but that hope was long gone and now she had quietly accepted her fate.
This could be the scene of any home today, but it took place centuries ago. Zachariah was a priest in the temple. He and his wife, Elizabeth were both God fearing and followed the commandments. It seemed a simple request to ask God for a child, but for some reason their prayers went unanswered.
In this scenario, as with many in God’s book, we see how God determines the right time and place for our prayers to be answered and how He uses those circumstances to do amazing things.
As Zachariah was tending the incense in the temple, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that he and his wife would have a son and that this boy would fulfill an ancient prophecy. Zachariah was doubtful and because of this, his own voice was silenced until the birth of his son, John.
The joy in Elizabeth’s heart had to have been overwhelming as she prepared for the birth of her first born child. I’m sure she was wondering why God waited so long, but here she was – well beyond child bearing years – old and pregnant. The faith of this woman had to be tremendous. She trusted in God’s plan for her life.
Her son, John would grow into the forerunner of Jesus. The boy, John, would grow into the man preparing the way for the Messiah. He’d be known as John, the Baptist and fulfilled the ancient prophecy..
Isaiah 41:3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
As Jesus waded into the water, a stillness came upon the crowd. John was awe struck as he moved to his Messiah. Jesus asked to be baptized – not because He needed salvation, but so that the Holy Spirit would bless His ministry and that God, His Father would approve it.
Still, John felt unworthy, as we should when in the presence of our Savior. It became apparent soon enough as the heavens opened and a dove descended and the voice of God uttered the words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Word of the Messiah would spread like wildfire from town to town. Soon Jesus would be gathering crowds of His own and His message was one of forgiveness.
Soon John would be beheaded and Mary would visit Elizabeth to comfort her in her grief – not knowing that she ‘d be suffering for her own dying Son in three short years.