“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.” (Luke 1:5–7, NIV84)
So, Luke begins his historical investigation. He starts earlier than Jesus’ ministry. He goes even before Jesus’ promised birth. He begins with the beginnings of John the Baptist (the forerunner) of Jesus. He begins in great detail with Zechariah and his wife. He locks down their lineage to the first High Priest Aaron. Obviously, they are from the family of the Levites (those responsible for taking care of all temple matters). Luke records that both of them were “upright in the sight of God…”. They were wonderful God-fearing people living out their faiths to the best of their abilities. But there was a problem. At least from their perspective. They lived with the shame of being childless. They were now well along in years and Elizabeth was barren.
It is important to note the great detail Luke provides in order to root the Christian faith into real history. He mentions both of their names, their lineage to Aaron, and a description of their life. But there is something that, today, stands out to me even more. What is that? The fact that they are ordinary people of God. They are not living perfect lives, and even though they serve God for a living, they aren’t getting all the blessings that they would expect to get. What I mean is that Zechariah and Elizabeth were a lot like you and me. I am certain that they prayed, struggled, begged, bargained, etc., and didn’t get the child they so desperately wanted (felt they deserved). So what did they do? They kept going. They kept fighting the fight. They prayed, cried, worried, doubted, trusted, hoped and most importantly kept the faith. They never gave up on God. They wrestled with His will and plan but always let it finally be His will and plan.
Boy, is there a lesson there for me and I hope for you. We are hopeless causes because we don’t always like or understand the will of God. Not at all! It’s what makes us human. He is God and we are not. We must ultimately trust that He will work His will in our lives both to His glory and for our good. This is what kept Zechariah and Elizabeth going. It is what needs to keep us going.
Today, be comforted that some of the greatest people in the Gospel story were ordinary people like you and me.