Friday I posted about how amazing it seemed that the biblical author Luke was so focused on impacting one life at a time. His entire book of the Bible was written for one man, though it has impacted many. As I read on that day in Luke 1, the theme of the importance of one life continued as Luke recounts the life of Zechariah. This time, it’s GOD who is focused on the one among many.
Zechariah was a priest and finally after countless years, he was getting the literal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter into God’s presence (which at that time was contained to a single location on earth) and pray on behalf of all the people as they pleaded and waited for a Savior. Unlike many of the religious leaders we read about in Scripture, Zechariah and his wife had their hearts truly set on God. Beth Moore described him this way:
“Zechariah is not a character in a fiction novel. He was a real man who sought to serve a real God in the midst of unanswered prayers, mystifying disappointments, personal weakness, mundane daily rituals, and anxiety-causing responsibilities.” (Jesus the One and Only, page 10)
We don’t know how old Zechariah and Elizabeth are at the time beyond being told they were “advanced in years”… well beyond childbearing age… and childless. At this point the still had hope for a Savior but I’m sure their personal dreams had long faded.
As Zechariah took his place in the temple that day, he truly did so on behalf of all the Jews pleading for their Messiah. What he couldn’t have expected was that God would be using that opportunity to make Himself real to one man… Zechariah himself. An angel shows up telling Zechariah that he and his wife would have a son, and not just that, but that he would be the one preparing the way for the very Messiah he prayed for that day. What I would assume where the two biggest prayers of Zechariah’s heart, prayed for decades, were answered in that moment!
How beautiful that while he was simply being faithful to his duties on behalf of the many, God met him individually. Perhaps even the lot fell on him that day specifically for the purpose of God drawing him near to speak to him. Also, in the bigger picture I’m sure that Elizabeth and Zechariah struggled A LOT with waiting and longing for a child, but the time had to be just perfect. This way it lined up with all the plans God would have for their son’s life, and the lives of every human ever born on earth, which included paving the way for the Savior.
Help us trust You, Lord, that if we have to wait for any good thing from You it’s only because you have a plan for something far greater than we could ask or imagine! Thank you that, in the crowds and crowds of people, You met Zechariah individually and You heard his personal prayers. Just like Your angel told Zechariah, remind us each today as well: “Do not be afraid…. your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 1:13) May we cling to you with hope and joyful expectation! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!