Elizabeth and Zechariah
Luke 1:5-25 – June 27, 2021
Elizabeth and Zechariah and Mary … in Luke
Dark/quiet times before Herod – 400 years since Malachi – 300 years since Alexander the Great *see the end of the sermon notes to read the compiled information Pastor Riley has on this era
5 – Herod, King of Judea. Dark days, dark times under Herod.
Priest Zechariah, priestly division of Abijah (1 Chronicles 24:10), wife Elizabeth.
Zechariah – he who remembers Jehovah, or he who is remembered by Jehovah.
Elizabeth – One whose oath is by God, or a worshipper of God.
6 – Both righteous in the sight of God – they served God, they loved God, they obeyed God.
7 – Childless and very old. Not old, but very old.
8-9 – Zechariah’s division would be on duty twice a year for a week at a time. 10,000 to 20,000 priests, thus a priest would have given this sacrifice, which was offered for the nation, once in one’s career. It would be offered either at 9 a.m. or 3 p.m., since it was made twice a day.
10 – While the priest was making the incense offering, those outside prayed.
11 – An angel of the Lord appeared, the first time in over 500 years. The last recorded visit of an angel was to Daniel in Daniel 10 and 11 with message about King Cyrus.
12 – Of course he was afraid, he knew the history of Judea, Jerusalem, and the temple
13 – Zechariah’s prayer while offering the sacrifice would have been for the nation, but the answer to the prayer also gave them a long hoped-for child, a hope they had abandoned because of their old age.
14-17 – to turn is a good summary term for repentance and denotes John’s call to a change of direction (3:1-14)
he will be great in the sight of God – not in the sight of man, what would we choose?
Matthew 11:11a, I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist.
Malachi 4:5-6, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.
17c to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18 – Zechariah’s question. Reasonable, not since Abram and Sara had such occurred at their age.
19-20 – Silent, unable to speak. Actually Zechariah was deaf and mute as 1:61-63 indicates, since others had to use gestures to communicate with him.
Dave Elkins posed a question for us concerning Zechariah’s question/doubt: Do you hear from God regularly? Do you feel the move of the Holy Spirit in your life? Or as you live your life daily, does it feel pretty dry? Do you get the excitement and the joy that comes, that is promised to us by the Holy Spirit? As you read the Word do you get insights from the Lord that tells you that God is speaking to you? God will speak to each of us differently, but He does speak to us in one way or another if we’re walking with Him, if we’re trusting in Him, if we’re listening to Him, we will begin to hear Him speak to us.
21-22 – Zechariah came out and he could not talk.
23-24 – He returned home and indeed Elizabeth did become pregnant, just as Gabriel had said.
25 – Elizabeth rejoices in the goodness of God.
God answers prayers in His own way and in His own time. Even when the cultural, political, and societal seems increasingly dark God is still answering prayers in His own time, His own way and He is still at work. It matters not what scoffers have said in the past and are saying today. Do you really believe in the fairy tale of a god in the sky, in heaven? Jesus? It’s been two thousand years, they scoff. Peter answers their scoffing,
2 Peter 3:3-4 & 8-9
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
*The Silent Period
312 B.C. – The eventual rule of Israel by the Maccabees is first made possible in 323 B.C. by the death of Alexander the Great. His vast empire is soon split up among his four generals. Seleucus begins the Seleucid Empire in 312 B.C. Over time, the empire expands to include Judea (in Israel) and Jerusalem.
175 – An aggressive campaign to force Greek culture into the lives of those in Judea (Israel) is undertaken by Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Jewish religious practices are forbidden. Antiochus’ actions will soon give rise to the Maccabees and their revolt that will fight for Judea’s independence.
166 – Mattathias dies. His son Judas becomes the military chief of the rebellion. Judas would later be known as Judas (Judah) the Maccabee, which means “Judah the Hammer.”
164 – Judas Maccabeus battles and gains the independence of Jerusalem. He enters Jerusalem and religiously cleanses the Temple. On the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, the Temple is re-dedicated, giving birth to the yearly Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah.
160 – Judas Maccabeus (Judas Maccabee) dies in battle. Jonathan Apphus, Judas’ brother, continues the fight for Judea’s independence
143 – Jonathan Apphus (Maccabee), who is Jerusalem’s High Priest, is taken prisoner and put to death by the Selecuid king Diodotus Tryphon
142 – Another son of Mattahias, Simon Thassi, continues the efforts of the Maccabean revolt as its new leader and High Priest. He pursues, and is granted, freedom from taxation by the Seleucid king.
… Much infighting and intrigue
76 – Salome Alexandra, wife of both Judah Aristobulus I and Alexander Jannaeus, becomes Queen of Judea.
67 – John Hyrcanus II, eldest son of Alexander Jannaeus and Salome Alexandra, becomes King of Judea.
66 – Aristobulus II, brother of John Hyrcanus II, defeats him in battle and becomes King of Judea.
… More infighting and intrigue
63 – Roman general Pompey defeats, several times, the Jewish army
39 – Herod the Great, named the new King of Judea in 40 B.C., attacks Jerusalem.
37 – Herod takes the city of Jerusalem and becomes the unquestioned Judean king.