13 But the angel said to
him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife
Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.
In Kerala, every year, we read about the selection of Hajj pilgrims to
Mecca. Since the quota is far below the number of applicants, selection is
made by lot. The result brings joy for some and disappointment for many.
It may be that some may never get a chance to go on pilgrimage
Zechariah had two unfulfilled ambitions in life; (1) To serve in the Temple
of God and (2) To receive a child from God.
After a long wait, the first one was accomplished. Since there were 24
divisions of the descendants of Aaron as priests (1 Chronicles 24:1-19),
and each division had about 900 priests in Zechariah's time, it was not
possible for all the priests to serve in the Temple at least once in their
lifetime. Then, in the midst of hope and despair, in his old age, he got a
chance to serve. But the second seemed to remain unfulfilled.
(a)Don't try to put a limit to God's plan, power and providence He must have lost hope of having a child because, according to human
calculations both Zechariah and Elizabeth had passed the age for having
children in their family life(v.7). The history of Israel shows that the
three Patriarchs, Abraham (Genesis 16:1), Isaac (Genesis 25:21) and
Jacob(Genesis 30:1) had to wait for a long time before being blessed with
Now at the end of the Old Testament period we read about another long wait
by Zechariah and Elizabeth for the gift of a child as the forerunner of the New
Even though he had been praying for long and had lost hope, now in
the Temple, Zechariah must have felt the pain and disappointment of
praying for a child. Then the unexpected happens at the very place it should
happen, the altar. When he sees the angel, he is gripped with fear. But the
angel asks him not to be afraid and says that his prayer has been heard by
God. We read in the Acts of the Apostles that when the angel of the Lord freed
Peter from prison, the believers who were praying for his release could not
believe it (Acts 12:12-15). Is our prayer casual or is it really serious?
We too pray for many things, but do we expect an answer soon or later?
(b) Do not lose hope; have patience and perseverance. We live in a time when we don't have the patience to wait. We want
everything at the click of a button. Our impatience results in anxiety and tension
at home as well as at our place of work. Don't expect that everything
should happen according to our calculations and plan. Wait patiently for God's
time. Even after the angel mentioned clearly about the child to be born,
including the name to be given, John (God is gracious), Zechariah could not
believe it. He appears to be pessimistic.
(c) In the busy schedule of life find time to be silent and to listen to
God At the end of his service, Zechariah had to pronounce the
priestly blessings.(Numbers6:24-26). But he could not speak. How can a
priest who doubts God's promises and power, pronounce His blessings to the
people? The sudden feeling of fear at the sight of an angel along with the joy
of hearing the good news, made him mute for a while. We may interpret it as
God's punishment, but silence is a God given opportunity for introspection
Lord my prayer has often become mere utterance of some
familiar and meaningless words and phrases. Help me to pray sincerely with
a contrite heart and a willing spirit. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: When I pray, do I sincerely
believe that, sooner or later God will give me a definite answer; no
matter what it is, am I ready to accept it?
PRIESTHOOD: THE ANOINTED MINISTRY Exodus 40:12-16 Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting... wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest (Exodus 40: 12-13). Priesthood among the people of God was a divine command and initiation. God wanted some people to be separated for the special ministry among his people. God appointed Aaron and his descendants to take up this kind of ministry among the people of God. Priests are always separated and appointed as channels that connect God with his people. All throughout the history of Israel, priests played an important role in connecting people with God and to lead and guide them in the statutes of God. But there are incidents in the Bible where the priests failed in their duties and that led the people to go away from God. So the priests have a special and significant ministry to perform in this world among his people. Two important things
Community Formation Around Resurrection Experience Acts 23:1-10 Vinod Johnson Carmel MTC, Boston, MA 6 When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” Sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going through a brutal winter is the hope for the spring. It may have been a hard hope to hold on to this particular year in New England - a year in which Boston considered dumping not tea, but the ever growing mounds of snow into its harbor. And yet, the waist deep snow has dissolved away. White desolation has given way to increasingly visible green shoots of spring. A resurrection is at hand! In this passage, Paul tries to defend himself before the Sanhedrin Council. He seeks to drive a wedge between the Pharisees who believed in resurrection and the Sadducees who did not; even though neither believed in the resur
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