This Christmas season we’ve focused on the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Christmas is now over; however, before we move on, I’d like to take one last look at Zechariah.
After Mary’s visit with her cousin, the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and the story picks up as follows:
“Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, ‘No; he shall be called John.’ And they said to her, ‘None of your relatives is called by this name.’ And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.”
The man who had been mute began to speak. What a sight that must have been. After nine months of silence, Zechariah begins to speak again, and what’s the first thing that exits his mouth? Praises to the Lord. But not only is there praise; Zechariah also gives the first prophecy in over 400 years! We are told that he is filled with the Holy Spirit and prophecies, saying:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
What a change of attitude and posture before God! But what caused this drastic transformation? What did Zechariah do during those nine months of silence? How did he grow in his faith? Did he spend those many still moments pondering and reading back through the old prophesies? As he watched Elizabeth’s belly grow and witnessed Mary’s testimony and Elizabeth’s reaction, what was he thinking?
In Zechariah’s declaration of faith, he quotes many Old Testament prophesies from Isaiah, David, and Malachi. So I wonder if he spent much of his time searching the ancient Scriptures and looking for those long-cherished Messianic prophesies. Whatever happened during those nine months of silence, we can see from Scripture that God did a powerful work in this man’s life.
So what does that teach us? Maybe you’re in a season of silence and God seems distant and far or maybe it’s a season of dryness and drought and the way seams lonely. It is in this place that God wants to work on your heart. Just as He transformed the heart of Zechariah during those silent months, so also He wants to complete a good work in your life in the middle of the difficult situation and circumstance you find yourself. But you must let Him work. You must yield to His Holy Spirit and allow yourself to be molded into the person God is transforming you into.
If you humble yourself and allow yourself to be soft clay in the Potter’s hands, you will come out with a testimony like Zechariah who left the temple a mute man, but nine months later became the first New Testament prophet recorded in Scripture. What an honor! So if you find yourself in a season of muteness, remember Zechariah and the work God did in his life and don’t give up hope or faith in God!
In closing, this wraps up our study of the persons of Zechariah and Elizabeth and also our Christmas series for the year. I pray that you’ve been blessed this year by the testimonies of this righteous couple, and have been further awed and amazed by the wonder of Christmas and the amazing Gift that was given in the most humble of places. So as we journey on from this blessed time of year and prepare to embrace the New Year, may we not forget the lessons, revelations, and deeper appreciation we’ve gained during this Christmas season.
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