Luke 1:5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
In this account by Luke we are introduced to Zechariah and Elizabeth. They are to play a special role in the coming of the Messiah, for their son was to be the prophetic voice that would call people to attention and preparation. Zechariah and Elizabeth were not ordinary characters in their day, but they were specifically chosen because of their heritage, and their faithfulness. They were both from a priestly ancestry. Priests were required to marry virgins of Israelite birth, but a priest did not always marry a woman from a priestly family. To marry the daughter of a priest was considered significant and for Elizabeth to not only be the daughter of a priest, but an actual descendant of Aaron, was remarkable.
These two were faithful in their service to God. Luke makes note that they lived “blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.” This is significant for they were a remnant that embodied the best of the Old Testament law and they would now serve as a bridge between the old and the new. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not in conflict with the Old Testament law, but becomes the fulfillment as the law as revealed in Christ.
Finally these two had no children, and yet they were viewed as being righteous. This is unusual because barrenness was often seen as a sign of sin, or a punishment from God. Zechariah and Elizabeth must have lived exemplary lives for this to be the case. As a result, God was able to use them just as he had other barren couples in the past, to bless them with a child who was called to fulfill a divine task. The readers of Luke’s gospel would remember women like Sarah, barren and beyond child-bearing years and recognizing that only divine intervention would make pregnancy possible. Elizabeth’s son would be born to fulfill God’s purposes and this was possible because his parents were faithful characters in God’s story.
God is still in the business of using faithful characters. We may not be called to birth a divine messenger, but we are called to carry the divine message. Faithful characters desire to know him in such an intimate way that he becomes a part of their very being. They carry the divine messenger into a very hurting world that needs a touch from him. It may be that you will be the only faithful character who will carry the Messiah into the gas station, the hair salon, the dry cleaners, the grocery store, the call center, Starbucks, etc.
This is a season of hope and anticipation. Many people think they are awaiting the gifts under the tree. Maybe what they’re really waiting for is you, a faithful character, bringing them the hope found in the Messiah. Think about what you do today and how you can live as a faithful character, carrying hope to a hopeless world.
Lord, please help me to be faithful to carry you. Amen.
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