The story of Zechariah, Elizabeth and John the Baptist is one of my favorites for so many reasons.
It speaks hope to my heart: these two old folks had given up on the idea that they might yet have a child, yet God brought forth life where human thinking said it was impossible.
It wasn’t just ANY life, it was a promised life, a planned life, a purposeful life. John came in the spirit and power of Elijah to make hearts ready for Messiah.
And then there is the oh, so understandable reaction of Zechariah when he was told he’d be a father: “Really? How can I be sure?”
I imagine any one of us would feel the same way, even if we didn’t open our mouths and let the thought escape.
On the other side of fifty, my life feels kind of dried up and worn out.
Burying my son has drained much of the giddiness I once felt that things could only get better and better. My heart tends to look on the less-than-bright side most days.
But just like Elizabeth and Zechariah, God still has a plan for me.
He has not forgotten who or where I am.
I am not beyond His touch.
So I wait-hopefully with a little more faith than Zechariah-for God to bring forth the life He desires from my inward parts.
He can do it.
When Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest by the name of Zechariah from the priestly group of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth was from the family of Aaron.[a] 6 Both of them were good people and pleased the Lord God by obeying all that he had commanded. 7 But they did not have children. Elizabeth could not have any, and both Zechariah and Elizabeth were already old.
8 One day Zechariah’s group of priests were on duty, and he was serving God as a priest. 9 According to the custom of the priests, he had been chosen to go into the Lord’s temple that day and to burn incense,[b]10 while the people stood outside praying.
11 All at once an angel from the Lord appeared to Zechariah at the right side of the altar. 12 Zechariah was confused and afraid when he saw the angel. 13 But the angel told him:
Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayers. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you must name him John. 14 His birth will make you very happy, and many people will be glad. 15 Your son will be a great servant of the Lord. He must never drink wine or beer, and the power of the Holy Spirit will be with him from the time he is born.
16 John will lead many people in Israel to turn back to the Lord their God. 17 He will go ahead of the Lord with the same power and spirit that Elijah[c] had. And because of John, parents will be more thoughtful of their children. And people who now disobey God will begin to think as they ought to. That is how John will get people ready for the Lord.
Luke 1:5-17 CEV