When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.Luke 1:5-7
Luke begins the gospel with an intimate look into this wider family. We go straight to a series of family events Luke has to share with us. Remember in the first verses describing how he came to write this gospel he talked about eye witnesses. Well, here are some intimate family stories he has to share. The question is where did he get them? These are eye witness accounts. These first accounts (stories) either came from Elizabeth or Mary. With Luke’s note “of Mary treasuring these things in her heart” (2:19) most conclude it was Mary who was the likely source of these stories. It could well have been both women who contributed their respective stories. But if it was just one who was responsible then it was likely Mary as she went to stay with Elizabeth and heard what happened on her side of the tale. Luke could well have interviewed both Mary and Elizabeth respectively. But what remains after all the conjecture is that he got the stories and he tells us what went on behind the scenes.
Luke places the stories of Jesus and John in juxtaposition and weaves them in and out to set up the parallels between them. We will look at these personal, intimate yet familiar stories over the course of the next few days. It is certainly a different viewpoint from Matthew and Mark. Mark doesn’t deal with the nativity at all and handles it a totally different way. Aren’t you glad that Luke took the time to give us an ordered account gleaned from the eye witnesses? If not we would have missed out on these precious accounts of the birth narratives.
The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth takes us into the confidence of the family and gives us intimate details we would not otherwise have gained. Here is a childless couple. A righteous childless couple no less! According to the Hebraic formula this ought not to be. God told men and women to go forth and multiply. All things going according to plan, they should have had a child in accord with the blessing of God. If they didn’t then they must have been doing something wrong or be sinning. Simple: if you are righteous then God will bless you. If you are not blessed with a child then you must not be living according to His laws and so you are cursed with childlessness. That was the simple formula. But here we are told is a childless couple who are RIGHTEOUS. That should not ought to be. In fact how can it be? To be righteous and childless is an anathema. Not only that but this couple are now BOTH VERY OLD. Not only are they childless but they have past their use by date. They are indeed childless but likely to remain that way because their time for bearing children has past. This should bring to mind similar couples in Scripture who were that way. Think about it. Can you think of any who were in that state? Childless? And Righteous? Ponder their stories. These few lines are setting the scene in a remarkable way. It’s not over until God says it’s over. Watch this space.
Luke begins this segment by anchoring it in time. This happened to Zechariah (who was a priest after the order of Abijah, from the Aaronic line) and his wife Elizabeth in Judea at the time Herod was king. Wow Luke must have been trained by Wycliffe. Start a true story with Who, When and Where, it anchors it immediately in fact. It happened. Not only that it has been recorded. Their names are listed in the priestly order. It happened in Judea when Herod was king of Judea. With those few words, Luke places this family story in the realm of truth, it actually happened in the real world. Ah but there is more to come . . .
C’mon over and bring the kids.God
Family is a God idea.Anon
This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle.A W Tozer
God is more concerned about your heart than your performance. If your heart is right, your performance will eventually catch up.Joyce Meyer