Commentary by Walter Albritton


December 1


God Honors Elisabeth and Zechariah

Luke 1:5-66

Key Verse: Luke 1:13


            We turn in this Advent season to the tender stories of the birth of John and the birth of our Lord Jesus. I tremble every time I read the God-breathed stories that the gifted Doctor Luke provides us. What a magnificent time in the history of the world!

            Nothing has so influenced humanity as the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The eternal God had come to earth. Time stood still.  The calendar stopped, and then started over again.

            Two couples are key figures in the Incarnation. Two sons are born to two women who are chosen by God for this unusual honor. Skillfully Luke weaves together the birth of John and the birth of Jesus. Imagine births so significant that God sends the angel Gabriel to assure Joseph and Mary, and Zechariah and Elisabeth, that this is the work of God!

            We can sympathize with Zechariah in his bewilderment. Such news from heaven would render most of us speechless. However, we can affirm this poor priest’s wisdom in that when his voice does return, he first offers praise to God.

            Verse six is worthy of thoughtful meditation. Luke tells us that Zechariah and Elisabeth were living righteous lives. They were obeying God. Their heart’s desire was to honor and please God.

            It is to such people that God always turns when he has work to do. He still looks, in every age, for men and women like Zechariah and Elisabeth to do his good will.

            Elisabeth and Zechariah had no idea the significance of their faithfulness to God in the birthing of John the Baptist. They are a beautiful example of how God is able to use humble, obedient servants to accomplish his work in our world.

These stories help us realize that God keeps his promises. When he does, he employs faithful men and women to carry out his mighty deeds. We can be inspired to live faithfully ourselves in the conviction that God desires to use us as well. We can be content not to know the extent of our faithfulness, for that is God’s business.

To celebrate the coming of our Lord is to give thanks that what God promises, he delivers!  A thousand times in worship, I have enjoyed singing “standing on the promises of God my Savior.” Our Christmas songs help us affirm that in this holy season we are truly standing on the promises of God. 

Elisabeth and Zechariah are names of honor 2,000 years since they lived. We honor their names because of the character of their lives. We may still benefit from the memory of their faithfulness to God.

Should we not seek to live in our day so that a thousand years from now we are remembered as men and women who lived to honor Christ and please God?

May God give us hearts that desire nothing more! + + +