Good Morning Gorgeous,
It’s a brand new day. A fresh new start. A new day to walk and speak and move on activated faith.
A new day to exercise and use the very faith that you’ve been holding steady to.
A new day to live out what you believe to be true.
The following blog post I wrote a few months ago, but as we anticipate the coming of Jesus, it feels right to talk about the miracle of the birth of John the Baptist too. John the Baptist was the One who paved the way for Jesus. He prepared their hearts to receive the message of Jesus
John would go ahead of Jesus and begin a ministry in Israel to turn people from sin and to the Messiah. John the Baptist was a prophet who preached the coming of Jesus and the importance of turning from sin and to the Lord. He paved the way for Jesus’s ministry. He prepared hearts and planted seeds of hope. He preached that promises were soon to be fulfilled. John paved the road, prepared the hearts, and planted seeds of hope in the people. He began to stir up hope that help was on the way.
This is the story of John’s divine birth.
Zechariah was a righteous man, and so was his wife Elizabeth. They both had a strong background in the priesthood. Zechariah was a priest who served in the temple from the lineage of Abijah and Elizabeth was a direct descendant of Aaron.
Why does that matter? Well, this is a couple who grew up in the faith, taught the ways of the Lord, served the Lord, kept His decrees, and now were elderly. They had spent a lifetime serving God. The bible calls them righteous. When the Lord called Abraham righteous it was for his great faith. When the Lord names this barren couple righteous, it may have been for their strong faith or their keeping of His law, or possibly both.
But when we get a chance to actually activate and live out our faith beyond professing it with our mouth, the true state of our heart is revealed.
Zechariah’s turn to burn incense in the temple had come. He was chosen by casting lots and due to the sheer number of priests at the time, this may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity for him. He was to enter the Holy place and burn incense before the Lord. But did he really believe that he would encounter the Lord? Did he really believe that he may recieve a message that day? His tongue may have professed all the right things since he was a child, yet he was about to actually experience the mercy, compassion, grace, and power of the Lord that he had been taught all his life.
Over 400 years had passed since the last word was spoken by God or through a messenger of God. The Old Testament ended with the book of Malachi, and the Lord had been silent since. Zechariah was about to recieve the very first message from heaven in over 400 years.
He had longed his whole life for a child. He had done all the right things, proclaimed his faith, lived faithfully and righteously, but the dearest blessing to him had never come.
Do you feel the same way? As if the Lord has somehow forgotten you? Forsaken you? Doesn’t even hear your prayers anymore?
After a lifetime of faithful service and no child, Zechariah may have still been saying and doing all the right things, but his doubting heart is revealed when he encounters his miracle.
He’s in the temple burning incense, offering prayers, some on behalf of the people, maybe some for his own family. Because of his age and the age of his wife, he may not even let the request for a child leave his lips. He may have grieved that lost dream long ago.
Suddenly, an angel appears and tells him his deepest desire has been answered. His prayer has been heard and his wife will bear a son. A special son, chosen and filled with the Holy Spirit for a very mighty assignment. He is to make way for the long awaited Messiah! He also tells him to name his son John.
Zechariah doubts and asks for a sign that this will really happen. He has been let down far too many decades to get his hopes up now.
The angel strikes him mute, and he leaves the temple unable to speak.
His actions and his conversation with the angel revealed a lack of belief that he really would recieve the very thing he had spent his entire life praying for. It showed that he had lost hope and wasn’t really expecting his miracle to happen.
The Lord delivers on His promise and Elizabeth gives birth and Zechariah still cannot speak. Elizabeth shocks everyone when she proclaims the baby’s name as John. The custom of the day was always to name the firstborn son after his father. They go to Zechariah for his input and ask for the child’s name. Still unable to speak, he writes, “His name is John.”
And with that act of faith, which in those times meant alot, he was released to speak. Zechariah was obediently following the directions of the angel. He was showing that this precious son that he waited a lifetime for belonged to the Lord and he would do as the Lord instructed even if it meant not giving his only son his name. Today, this would be like giving your child a last name other than your husband’s last name. It was shocking to the people, yet it was the very thing that unlocked Zechariah’s tongue!
He finally ACTED in faith rather than just giving it lip service. He MOVED like he believed. He obediently did what he was told, and his voice returned along with an anointing from the Holy Spirit and he began to prophesy great revelations about his son and also about Jesus, the coming Messiah.
He spoke such GLORIOUS words!
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1:68-79 ESV
So the takeaway is that we will be called to walk out what we say we believe. If we say that we believe in a miracle working God, how will we react when He works a miracle. Will we believe it’s really Him?
Are we ready to walk out our faith?
To make decisions based on our faith?
To vote in alignment with our faith?
To sacrifice like Zechariah did when our faith requires it?
For Zechariah’s entire life, he followed the faith, but then he was given the opportunity to really live and make life choices that demonstrated His great faith in the Lord!
And as he walked out his faith, he was given the Holy Spirit in abundance and he proclaimed the coming Messiah.
What a joy to see the Lord at work in our lives! He is still a miracle working Lord who visits with His people.
This season can be similar to that first Christmas season. We can begin to prepare our hearts in expectation for Jesus. We can allow seeds of hope to be planted that the Lord is here with us. We are celebrating that He made a way for us so that we can enter His Presence and pray directly to Him. We don’t have to wait for a priest like Zechariah to go into the sanctuary on our behalf. Because of Jesus, we are heirs to the inheritance. We are able to access our Father God at any time just like a son or daughter.
Jesus redeemed us once and for all. John the Baptist prepared the way. Christmas is almost here. While we excitedly wait for Christmas morning, let’s begin to prepare our hearts and make a way for Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Ready us to hear from You. Prepare our hearts to activate our faith. Let us move beyond speaking of our faith to actually letting every decision we make reflect our belief in You. Let our hearts be revealed by our walk in the earth. In Jesus’s name, Amen.