If an angel said to you, “Your prayer is heard,” what would it mean for you? What is the “too good to be true” news in your life? You may have given up believing God can bring it about. You may think you’re too old to start something new and exciting. Remember that people in their nineties have written plays and governed nations. Whatever it is that might seem too good to be true for you, remember Zacharias.
His reaction to all that the angel had predicted was disbelief. It was all too good to be true. He was like Thomas, the disciple who doubted the Resurrection and said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe.” He was given proof, and he believed.
After priests performed their temple duties, they normally came out to the people to pronounce a blessing. Zacharias’ delay signaled that something unusual had taken place-but whether a blessing or a judgment, the people did not know. Although Zacharias could not speak, he gestured to communicate. From his gestures the people realized that he had seen a vision. This was remarkable, because for more than 400 years since the close of the Old Testament writings, God was silent. He did not raise any prophets to speak to His people. Could it be that God was now ready to begin stirring up things again?
Elizabeth stayed out of public view for five months after she and her husband conceived-about the length of time it takes for a pregnancy to show-perhaps to remove herself from curious eyes until the growth of her belly revealed the truth. There is no hiding a pregnancy when it gets far enough along. There is no hiding God’s work either when it comes to the point of birth. Quiet times are normal, and it’s okay to step back and let God do whatever He’s doing with you in a quiet place and out of sight-until the day He makes it public.
It might also have been an act of devotion out of deep gratitude to the Lord. In Old Testament times, childlessness carried a reproach in a culture where blessings were tied to birthrights and family lines. Barrenness could occasionally be a sign of divine disfavor, but it was not always so. In time God removed this disgrace from Elizabeth’s life. Elizabeth kept her eyes focused squarely on God.
Sometimes there is value in taking things slowly-in simply sitting still and watching God carry out His good promises. God does things in His own time and in His own way. We don’t always have to be running, shouting, announcing what God is doing. There is a time for that, but there is also a time for praying, thinking, and rejoicing in the Lord. Elizabeth and Zechariah did that, and we can do that too.
God told Elizabeth that her son would be the one to prepare the way for the Lord. That meant that the Messiah was coming-that God was about to redeem His people from the power of evil, as He promised in the past
Gabriel is God’s announcing angel. His conversation with Mary probably took place in her home in Nazareth, a city of questionable reputation. For example, when the apostle Philip told Nathaniel that he had seen the Lord, Nathaniel replied, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
Why would God choose to send the Messiah by way of Nazareth? Mary was a pure woman in a wicked city. She showed that it is possible to live a holy life in an unholy place. God met Mary where she was, and God meets us where we are. We don’t have to make our own dreams come true. All we have do is be faithful and do what God has given us to do. Then, even with all things our heart may look for and long for, hope can find us like hope found Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah.
Mary was troubled. Perhaps because of her humility, she may have been thinking, “Why me? I’m too insignificant to find favour with God.” On the other hand, perhaps she had the innate wisdom to comprehend something at the very heart of the mystery of life and the mystery of God-that those highly favoured by God do not have a life of unbroken happiness.
Most of us have felt the same way that Mary did. We look at our ordinary lives and find it hard to believe that God-the Creator of the universe-could be bothered to keep track of us, much less be interested in us. The truth is that God is in fact watching over us. He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He is watching over us far more closely than we may give Him credit for. In the words of a famous Christmas tune:
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows when you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness’ sake
Most of us don’t have encounters with angels. Our life-changing experiences are usually based on God’s Word. He changes our lives and uses us to do His will and work. In His wisdom He often does not show us His entire plan for our lives. He takes us on a journey, one step at a time. Even if we do not understand the path God is leading us on, we must simply trust and obey Him. The result might just be miraculous.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, p. 1382)
- Larson, B., & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 26: Luke (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1983; pp. 29-36)
- MacArthur, J.F.Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Dr. Kari Vo, “On a Schedule.” Retrieved from www.lhm.org
- Dr. Kari Vo, “Things Are Starting to Stir.” Retrieved from www.lhm.org
- Dr. Kari Vo, “Vindication at Last.” Retrieved from www.lhm.org
- Dr. Kari Vo, “Taking It Slow.” Retrieved from www.lhm.org
- Raul Ries, “Rejoice, Highly Favoured One.” Retrieved form www.crosswalkcom/devotionals/somebody-loves-you-radio-w-raul-ries/
- Joni Eareckson Tada, “The Annunciation.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- James MacDonald, “Hope on Arrival.” Retrieved from OurJourneyOnline@WalkintheWord.com
- Greg Laurie, “A Thermometer or a Thermostat?” Retrieved from www.harvest.org
- Dr. Kari Vo, “A Quiet Pause.” Retrieved from www.lhm.org