Keeping a secret
December 5, 2021 | Craig Olney
About the author: Craig Olney and his wife Christy are active ZPC members. They serve as Home Group leaders, on Great Banquet and Kairos Prison Ministries teams, and in the new Grace Marriage ministry. Craig is a newly elected Elder and Christy serves on Mission Commission. They live in the Village of West Clay and are involved in reaching out to their neighbors.
Today's Scripture: Luke 1:58-79
Today’s scripture is the prophecy Zechariah spoke eight days after his son John was born. Zechariah had not spoken in about a year. He was struck mute by Gabriel the angel because he could not believe he and his wife were going to have a child at their age. Gabriel had just given Zechariah some very good and unbelievable news about having a son and the part his son was going to play in preparing the way for the Messiah (Luke 1:11-17). Wow, Zechariah is blown away! As a priest he knows the people have been waiting for the Messiah for over 2000 years and the wait is about over! Zechariah is overwhelmed and confused, he makes the mistake of asking Gabriel, “How will this happen? I am old and so is my wife.” Gabriel replies that since Zechariah did not believe him he would no longer be able to speak until the child is born. (Luke 1:18-20) Well, that’s one sure way to keep a secret!
So, Zechariah has a year to think about this event and in that time Elizabeth becomes pregnant and has a child much to the amazement of everyone. Then, when the child is 8 days old, the family, relatives and friends gather for the circumcision ceremony and ask for the name of the child. Elizabeth responds, "John," but the family is confused since there was not a John in the family. Zechariah then writes John on the tablet to name the child and immediately he can speak. Family and friends are amazed by these events and wonder what this child will become since surely the hand of the Lord is on him. They know they have witnessed a miracle but have no idea what is coming.
In this scripture passage, Zechariah begins to praise God and prophecies about the Messiah, the fulfillment of the covenant, his son’s part in preparing the way for the Messiah and that it will all happen soon. These are the first words Zechariah has spoken in a year, this is the first time he has been able to tell anyone of his experience with Gabriel and that the Messiah is coming. He sums it up beautifully in this prophecy.
I think Zechariah had a very tough year. He could not tell anyone of his experience or the fantastic news that the Messiah was coming. He was seeing Gabriel’s prophecy come to life when Elizabeth became pregnant and had a child. He must have been excited and frustrated that he had to wait to share what he knew. Have you ever had that experience? Have you had good news that you had to wait to share? It can be agony to wait but it is usually worth it.
The fantastic aspect of the Christian faith is that we believe that God has a plan and that his plan is perfect. It gives us the faith to go forward and accept what we don’t understand at the time but have confidence that it will all work out. It allows us to take the good with the bad because our hope is not in ourselves but in God. We can live with a different perspective that it will all be OK in the end and if it is not OK then it is not the end.
This season of Advent as we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus feel free to share the good news of grace and forgiveness that Jesus brings. Unlike Zechariah, you have a voice to share your excitement of all God has done for you! Take some time to pray, worship and maybe burn a little incense, but if Gabriel shows up, listen carefully and don’t ask any questions. He really does not like questions.
Sit quietly and remember how excited you were as a child when Christmas was getting close. Remember how you felt when you found your name on some of the presents under the tree? Think about how excited and amazed Zechariah was when Gabriel told him he was going to be a father and that his son was going to play a key role in announcing the Messiah! Now, listen to the song “Come thou long expected Jesus” and think about the hope that Jesus brings. Then listen to “ All my Hope” by David Crowder and reflect on where your hope lies.
Almighty God, loving Father, Daddy,
What an honor to be called your children. Help us to wait and remain expectant like little children, knowing you only want the best for us and knowing you will provide all we need. Help us to not get caught up in the daily problems but look to you for assurance that all things work for good for those who love you. As we wait to celebrate the greatest gift we could ever receive, help us to show others the hope we have in Jesus.