Before we can delve into the birth of Christ and Mary’s part in it we need to have a look at the one who would prepare the way for the Lord. The birth of John the Baptist is woven into the birth of Christ, not because it’s an interesting event, but because he would fulfil a role that would begin to prepare people for the unusual
Luke tells us that Zechariah was a priest and Elizabeth was also from the priestly heritage of Aaron. They were both upright and blameless in the sight of God, yet even though at this time they were “well along in years”, they had no children.
In those days to be barren was considered a curse. People would have looked at Elizabeth and would have thought ‘tut-tut”. You must have done something that was very displeasing to God. They would have been carrying the shame and the disappointments of unfulfilled hopes and dreams for a long time. I would think the expectation of ever having a child would be long passed.
This can happen to us all in various ways. We have an expectation of what we would like to have happen. We might have it all planned out and somehow the dream is lost. It could be anything from a relationship, a business adventure, exam marks, or to having or not having children. There are countless disappointments that come our way. There are a few things we need to make very clear.
God was not punishing Zechariah and Elizabeth. Luke (1:6) very clearly states that they were walking rightly before God. God, however, in His wisdom was waiting for the proper or right time. There is a timing of God that often seem late to us. We may be hanging on with what we feel is our fingernails. But….
God’s ways are not our ways. Psalm 34 says lean not unto your own understanding. You only see a part of the picture but God sees the whole. He is bringing people together with events that will shape history – His Story.
And that was the way it was with Zechariah and Elizabeth. He wanted to bring about the beginning of the invasion of the Kingdom of God in a miraculous way. The whole region, in fact all of Israel, would have been talking about this birth. The people knew that she was barren and she was old. She would have been the talk of the town. They knew that Zechariah had a divine visitation and couldn’t speak. This was a very unusual event.
All the people would have been wondering and watching. God has prepared the events for this strategic moment. John was to prepare a people for the Lord. This was all part of preparing the people even before he was born. God was already beginning to till the soil of Israel’s heart.
God is good. Even though at times we don’t understand what’s going on He is still in control and He is good. Romans chapter 8 and verse 28 says, “He works all things together for good for them that love the Lord.”