‘When Our Hope is Restored’    

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Months passed and finally John was born. When they took him to be circumcised, the priests suggested that they name him Zacharias in honor of his father. But Elizabeth said, “No; he shall be called John.” (Luke 1:61) This was the name given to them by the angel Gabriel. Then the priests approached Zacharias, thinking that he would correct his wife. “And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, ‘His name is John.’” When Zacharias wrote the name ‘John,’ he was confessing that God is good and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Scripture says, “Immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.” (Luke 1:64) Zacharias’ hope had been restored!

ZACHARIAS’ HOPE WAS RESTORED THROUGH THE BIRTH OF HIS SON

We can hardly imagine how much joy and wonder this elderly couple must have had as they looked upon the answer to all their prayers.

ZACHARIAS’ HOPE WAS RESTORED THROUGH THE REALIZATION THAT GOD HAD A PURPOSE FOR THEIR PAIN

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways…” (Luke 1:76) For years Zacharias and Elizabeth prayed for a child and perhaps at times they were tempted to wonder if God was good and if they should continue to serve Him. But when He revealed His will to them, they couldn’t help but to praise Him. The Bible says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) I believe that when we are in heaven, we will be able to look back upon this life and see that God’s gracious hand was in everything that happened.

ZACHARIAS’ HOPE WAS RESTORED THROUGH THE PROMISE OF SALVATION

We began our study by seeing that Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous people. (See Luke 1:6.) That does not mean that they were sinless, but that they loved God and desired to serve Him. That being the case, I am sure that at times they wondered if their nation would ever turn back to God. Just as they longed for God to give them a child, so they longed for God to deliver their people from their sins. But when it seemed as though all hope was gone, God moved.

Luke 1:76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, 78 through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The New International Version says, “the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death…” For centuries the nation of Israel sat in darkness, but now God was about to bring them light. Malachi wrote, “The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings…” (Malachi 4:2) The Sun of Righteousness is Jesus and the healing He brings us is salvation.

We have only begun our study of the Christmas story and next week we will consider Gabriel’s amazing announcement to Mary. I hope that you will join me again as we continue our study.

Until then, God bless you, Brethren.

* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version

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