Zechariah was a priest who, along with his wife Elizabeth, committed his life, to serving God. Though they were never able to have a child, it had been a good life and one the two of them thoroughly enjoyed. As content as he was, however, there were still two things Zechariah longed to experience: fatherhood and entering the Temple to offer up incense. Little did he know that he would experience one and be promised the other all in one day!
Zechariah’s division of priests had been on Temple duty before, but the lot had never before fallen to him to have the honor of such a holy experience. His fellow priests bathed him in prayer as he walked up the steps, through the doors, and into the private sanctuary…trying to keep his heart in line all the way in. Zechariah himself did quite a bit of praying as he stood by the altar of incense in what—up until this point—was the most humbling and awe-inspiring moment of his life.
In that moment, then, how can we blame him for not being prepared to be confronted by an angel of God? Wasn’t it enough that he was allowed into this sacred place? Did he deserve such a gift? The angel, Gabriel, began to speak wonderful things about this boy, this John, and all that he would do for the people of God. Gabriel assured Zechariah that John would be a cause for rejoicing among the people and that it would be John, his son, who would return the people to readiness to receive the Lord.
How can we blame his for asking Gabriel for some sort of assurance? He certainly wasn’t getting any younger and neither was Elizabeth; how would they have a son now? Oh, and what he was to be! Would they know how to raise John to be the boy God desired?
The priests waited and prayed for Zechariah to return, but they were not prepared for the look upon his face! They tried to question him only to find that the voice which was so confident and clear before the sacrifice had somehow left him. So they watched and they waited.
They watched as Zechariah continued to be unable to speak and they waited as Elizabeth’s body began to change…who would this child be?
(Note: the above is original content written by this author in 2004. I suggest having a journal and Bible on-hand when you sit down with this devotional in order to complete the full aspects of it.)