The opening verses of the first chapter of Luke are a dedication of sorts to a prominent citizen of Antioch who was a contemporary of the author. They were both men of wealth and education. Luke felt it necessary to write all the facts down regarding this Jesus who everyone was talking about. It was important that the truth be told based on actual eyewitness events and from those who were there. Luke was also God’s instrument for getting this information down in writing for future generations.
In verses 5-25 we read the story of the priest named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth. They were both faithful servants of the Lord, following all the commandments and requirements of the law. They were in their golden years and had all but given up the thought of having a family of their own. There was a stigma attached to being barren in those days, but they had two things going against them. Not only could Elizabeth not have children, they were also too old.
When visited by the angel, Gabriel, Zechariah was naturally shocked. He was doing his priestly duties when this happened. At first he didn’t believe and his unbelief cost him his voice until his future son arrived. Zechariah was given specific directions on how the child should live and what he should be named. The child would be named John and he had already been chosen by God to call the people to repentance and prepare the way for the Messiah – fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah chapter 40:3 “A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Zechariah came out of the temple without a voice and one of the greatest bits of news he’d had in his entire life. He went home and managed to let his wife know what was about to happen and they both waited.
In the sixth month of her pregnancy, God sent His angel, Gabriel to Nazareth to visit Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary. The words seemed impossible to Mary. How could she have a child without ever being intimate with a man? She soon learned that nothing is impossible with God. She accepted what was about to happen with a completely child like faith and submission to her Creator. During this time she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and stayed with her for the next three months. When Mary arrived and Elizabeth saw her coming, the child in her body leaped. The perfect sign that this was something extraordinary. Can you just imagine what they had to talk about? None of this made any sense to either of them, yet they accepted it, because they knew it was from God. So they waited.
On the eighth day after John’s birth, he was taken to the temple to be circumcised and named. Everyone thought he would be named after his father as is customary, but Elizabeth said, “His name is John.” Zechariah wrote the name “John” on a writing tablet and his mouth was immediately opened.
There are two amazing prayers in this chapter of Luke. Mary’s Magnificat, which honors God and humbles Mary. It shows her complete faith in God’s plan for her life, even though she didn’t yet understand it. Zechariah’s prayer at the end of the chapter shows the completion of God’s covenant with man – that a Messiah would come. His own son would prepare the way for this mighty king and the promise would soon be fulfilled.
We wait again. We pray for our Lord’s second coming. He will return and when He does, every knee will bow.