Thursday, December 12, 2013

Zacharias Doubted

The actions and examples of righteous men and women fill our Christmas Story. One such man is Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. 

Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, had no children - which was of deep distress and shame to them. When they were quite old (in fact, tradition tells that Elizabeth was quite past the age of child-bearing), God blessed them with a son...a very important son...a son who would precede God's own son, and prepare His way. 

Zacharias doubted - and can we blame him? 

The Bible tells how the angel Gabriel came to Zacharias, and told him that his prayers for a son would be answered. And Zacharias asked, "how can this be?" 

For this act of unbelief, his mouth was shut up until after the birth of his son. But once John was born, and Zacharias confirmed that his name was to indeed be John, his mouth was opened:

"And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 

That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." - Luke 1:67-79

I wonder if Zacharias lived to see John grow up to manhood, to begin his own ministry, and then to die a martyr - again presaging Christ? 

I wonder if Mary held her cousin, Elizabeth, as she shed tears for her dead son? 

And I marvel, again, at the humble obedience displayed by Zacharias. Yes, he doubted, but he also never failed to be God's servant!

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