Saturday 19 December 2015

Bible Book:

"The angel replied, 'I am Gabriel. 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 Saturday 19 December 2015

Psalm: Psalm 71


Zechariah and Elizabeth needed to hear some good news. They werechildless in a culture that mocked women for this, and they werewell past childbearing age. Now an angel tells Zechariah that hisprayers have been answered and he and Elizabeth are to have a son,whom they are to call John. This news alone would have been causefor celebration, but the boy will play a special role in God'spurposes. He will prepare Israel for the coming of God.

This news comes as a complete surprise to Zechariah. He andElizabeth are observant Jews who are just going about their regularbusiness. They lived outside the city of Jerusalem, in thehill-country of Judea. Zechariah was a priest and when it was theturn of his division he would go to Jerusalem to serve in theTemple. He would lodge within the Temple grounds and then returnhome to continue his work in the local community as a teacher andleader.

Zechariah responds to the angel Gabriel's news by asking for asign. He wants something that will help him to believe. A sign isgiven, but it comes as a punishment because Zechariah doubted theangel's word. Zechariah becomes unable to speak. The angel's wordsdo come true however, and Elizabeth thanks God for herpregnancy.

For Luke, there is more to these events than Zechariah becoming afather or Elizabeth escaping the stigma of being childless. God isdemonstrating a concern for human lives and is intervening in humanhistory just as the Jewish people longed for. The angel'sannouncement of John's conception and birth is just the beginningof what God has planned.

To Ponder

  • How do you know when to persevere in praying for something, andwhen to stop?
  • Put yourself in Zechariah's place. What would you have said tothe angel Gabriel?
  • What signs have you asked for? What happened?

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