The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5 In the time of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.
6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.
7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
8 Once, when Zechariah’s division was on duty, and he was serving as priest before God,
9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.
12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.
13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.
14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,
15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”
19 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.
20 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.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.
22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home.
24 After this, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and, for five months, remained in seclusion.
25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days, he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
This is one of the greatest stories in the Bible, in my opinion. But then again, I say that often.
This story, however, feels so relatable. It’s a story that is true today as it was then.
Sometimes God gives us a promise, a vision, a dream, and we fill it with doubts because we present our lack rather than replacing our lack with His greatness.
I love that he closed his mouth for the duration of the pregnancy. We know that our words are powerful, and if we have nothing nice to say to the dreams of God, then let’s not say anything.
If we know our words can speak life, let us speak life to the miracle God wants to give us.
To others, it’s crazy, but for us, it’s for His glory.
Father God, today we look at the promise you’ve given us, and we remember that you are a God of miracles. We remember that you meet our lack with greatness. We are not too old, too young, too inexperienced to do what you have called us to do. So from this moment forward, we stop talking to your dreams with doubt, and we speak life overall you’ve given us. We thank you for this beautiful day, AMEN!
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