Monday 19 December 2016

Bible Book:

“You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth” (v. 14)

Luke 1:5-25 Monday 19 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 76


Not to be able to have children when you long for them is alwaysa painful experience, often silently borne. At the time ofZechariah and Elizabeth it also carried a substantial socialstigma, since the primary purpose of marriage was understood to bethe continuation of a family line. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth mayhave been aware that they each had significant ancestry which theywere unable to extend to future generations.

It's not easy to envisage the encounter between Zechariah andthe angel Gabriel. You might like to explore some artists'impressions of their meeting. In a high and holy moment Zechariahreceives the message that the seeming impossible will take place.It is clear that this will be a special child, but the major themein Gabriel's message is joy, both to Elizabeth and Zechariah andalso to the people.

But Gabriel's message goes further, to underline that John'sministry is from God and that the Holy Spirit is involved from theoutset. Reference to Elijah (verse 17) may reflect a belief thathe, the most revered of the prophets, would return before theMessiah came.

We can hardly be surprised at Zechariah's response to all this(verse 18). In effect he asks for a sign that it is true, and isgiven the disconcerting sign of his own enforced silence. It istherefore Elizabeth who picks up the recurrent theme of praise toGod who does great things.

To Ponder

  • John the Baptist's role here is to "make ready a peopleprepared for the Lord" (v. 17). The way in which he does this is"to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and thedisobedient to the wisdom of the righteous." How do you think hewould prepare you for the Lord today?
  • Have you ever asked for a sign to enable you trust God'sleading? How helpful was it? Why?
Previous Page Sunday 18 December 2016
Next Page Tuesday 20 December 2016