Zechariah was in the temple performing his duties as a priest. It was his turn as it was chosen by lots from within his group of priest. It was a sacred honor to perform these responsibilities, yet year after yearI would imagine the responsibility would become mundane or at the very least repetitive. Yet Zechariah was there when it was his turn, but something on this day would change the course of his forever. An angel appeared before him. Can you imagine for a moment working away at your job and then suddenly “poof” someone of the glowing kind is standing in front of you? I’m pretty sure we would all jump with fright and our hearts might pound a little harder in our chests. Zechariah was certainly no different. He was going along in his day and then suddenly he is jolted from his thoughts when the angel appears.
Isn’t it interesting that every account of an Angel visitation or proclamation the people are told by the angels “do not be afraid!” I kind of find that humorous because the Angels almost seem to just show up suddenly and it would certainly shock anyone idly standing there. You’d think perhaps they would ring a bell or have some sort of entrance music…but they just go “poof” and they are there…ok I digress… Zechariah is afraid and he’s so afraid that he falls on his face before the angel Gabriel. An priest of The Lord is shocked when an angel of God appears before him. Let that sink in for a moment. Zechariah wasn’t just a follower of God, he was a priest of God. He had studied the very words of God, he had memorized the Tenach, he was educated on its messages and prophesies. Yet Zechariah was shocked when God’s messenger appears before him. Why? Why would a priest be shocked?
I think we place religious leaders too highly upon these pedestals sometimes. After all, Zechariah was first a man and then because of his education was a priest. Natural instinct took over and his response was…normal. But why Zechariah and Elizabeth? Why did God choose them? Yes I understand the lineage issue, but besides this “blood” connection why them? They were old, they had put the possibilities of being parents to rest long ago. Their hope had died as they aged and grew too old to be parents. Why them? I think within this story there is a single sentence that tells us everything that we need to know about why God chose them: “And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of The Lord.” (Luke 1:6)
They were righteous and walked blamelessly! It had been over four hundred years since a prophet of The Lord or the word of The Lord lived among them. That’s a serious spiritual drought, yet here we have two individuals who were righteous and their walk was blameless. This speaks volumes as to why God chose them, and it should also be a clear indicator as to the kind of people God wants to use to spread His message to the world.
Can we say in all honesty today that we are righteous people? Can we honestly say that our walk is blameless? Are living our lives as God has required of us? The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth is paramount to the story of Christ’s birth. Without the voice crying out in the wilderness who prepared the way of The Lord we would have unfulfilled prophesy. John the Baptist was divinely appointed to do what he did, but so were his parents as those who would train him correctly and be examples of godly lives.
How is your walk today? How is this set-apart relationship that God has placed you in?
May it be our prayer and mission to live righteously before our God each moment of each day.
-Just a thought for today.