Thursday

"I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news." (v.19)

Luke 1:5-25 Thursday 19 December 2013


Background

An angelic visitor announces to Zechariah that:

  • his (barren) wife Elizabeth will bear a son
  • this startling birth will set in train a sequence of eventsunparalleled in history.

Something truly momentous is afoot.

The child's career will be modelled on Elijah, the greataction-man prophet of old. His role will be that of announcer,preparing the people for the coming of the Lord. Zechariah has beengiven a clue about the workings of this process in the words of theangel Gabriel: "I stand in the presence of God and I have been sentto speak to you and to bring you this good news". Is there a linkbetween Gabriel standing in the presence of God, and Gabriel'scommission to speak?

But how is that 'momentousness' to be measured? Clearly, sincethe birth of the infant John is several months away, these eventslie firmly in the future. The biblical story often teases us,leaving us in some uncertainty about exactly when these things willhappen. Here, though, the course of a pregnancy is natural and hasa definite end.

Zechariah's reaction to all this is understandable: firstterror, next disbelief, and then he lost the power of speech andthe ability to communicate. Is there for Zechariah a link betweenhis disbelief and his loss of speech? Could this be an echo ofGabriel's story?

In this story only Zechariah is told of the forthcoming event.As far as Elizabeth is concerned it 'just happens'.


To Ponder

  • When life seems bleak and colourless, how does your faith inGod support you?
  • Think on the words of Gabriel. What would it mean to you tostand in the presence of God?
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