During Advent, we not only remember how Christ first came into the lives of the individuals at the nativity, but how he came into our own lives and continues to transform us. We invite you to read the gospel account of Zechariah and Elizabeth and reflect upon how their joy was fulfilled in Christ.

Full Scripture passage: Luke 1:5-25, 39-45, 57-80

How would you react to a lifelong prayer being fulfilled? Take a moment to ponder. In the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, we see how God answers their lifelong prayer and how He blesses the entire world through them.

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 righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Luke 1:5-7

Scripture speaks of Zechariah and Elizabeth being righteous before God and walking blamelessly in His commandments. Even though Elizabeth was barren, they served the Lord faithfully. They did not fully believe they would be blessed with a child, but they hoped and prayed to God for this blessing.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

Luke 1:8-15

While on duty as a priest, Zechariah entered the temple to begin his job. Then, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, announcing that his long-time prayer would be answered. He would have a son whom he would name John. Zechariah had the faith to ask for a child, but when the answer to that prayer came, he was full of doubt. He didn’t see how he and Elizabeth could have a child in their old years.

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Luke 1:24-25

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”

Luke 1:39-42

Elizabeth conceived her son and acknowledged it as a blessing from God. When her cousin Mary came to visit, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she began blessing Mary and rejoicing with her in song. She was overwhelmed with gratitude because her prayer had not only been met but had been greatly surpassed. Her son John would help prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.

And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Luke 1:80

This Advent season, what long-term hopes do you bring to God? Is it a friend’s salvation? A family member’s health? A future spouse, child, or career?  Consider this…God often uses our prayers to accomplish His purposes in ways we cannot understand. He used Zechariah and Elizabeth’s faithful prayer to set the stage for the coming of Christ Jesus. Let this encourage us to continually set our hope in Christ as we faithfully trust Him to answer our prayers according to His good will.

Drew Goodson
Impact 360 Fellow