There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the priestly division of Abijah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years. Now it happened, while he executed the priestâ€™s office before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priestâ€™s office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, â€œDonâ€™t be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his motherâ€™s womb. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, â€˜to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,â€™ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to prepare a people prepared for the Lord.â€
Zacharias said to the angel, â€œHow can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.â€ Â Â Luke 1:5-18 (WEB)
Zacharias and Elizabeth were good people and even more, they knew and loved God. Their relationship with God was characterized in their obedience and love for Him. They had a problem in their lives. They had no child and they were now old. They knew they were asking God for a miracle. As a priest, Zacharias knew God was in the miracle business. He knew the stories of Godâ€™s miracles. And yet Zacharias was surprised and afraid when the angel appeared. Hmmm.
Angels must be impressive. Whether their size, their bearing, or just because they have been in the presence of the Lord Almighty, most of the accounts about angels include words like â€œfearâ€ or â€œaweâ€. Hmmm.
The angel tells Zacharias to get past the fear and listen â€“ â€œGod has heard you!â€ I have been praying, crying out to God, for Him to hear me. I get discouraged sometimes when it seems like God doesnâ€™t hear because I do not get wheat I am requesting. If Zacharias and Elizabeth had been praying for a child since they were married and were now â€œadvanced in yearsâ€ â€“ they must have been praying for 2-3 decades! I am not in their league! God always answers prayers. He may be helping me to build my â€œfaith muscleâ€ with a â€œwait answer. He may be building my â€œobedience muscleâ€ with a â€œnoâ€. He maybe teaching me and I havenâ€™t heard or learned the lesson that needs to come before the â€œyesâ€. Hmmm.
The angel tells Zacharias that God has heard him and has given Zacharias the desire of his heart â€“ a son. And Zacharias â€“ doesnâ€™t believe! How do you not believe when you are having a holy visitation play out in front of your eyes??? Oh, before I get all incredulous and righteous â€“ let me remember and revisit those times of fear and unworthiness. (like yesterday!) Let me remember those times when my relationship with God was â€œminimalâ€ or only the obligations and not about a daily, moment â€“ to â€“ moment walk and then God blessed me incredibly and I reasoned it off and doubted it could be an answer to my heart â€“ because I didnâ€™t think I had given Him my heart lately! â€œHow can I be sure?â€ Because God loves me. I cannnot earn or deserve any blessing He gives â€“ He just loves me. Hmmm.