“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 began his historical investigation. He started earlier than Jesus’ ministry, even before Jesus’ promised birth. He began with the beginnings of John the Baptist (the forerunner) of Jesus. Luke began in great detail with Zechariah and his wife. He locked down their lineage to the first high priest, Aaron. Obviously, they were from the family of the Levites (those responsible for taking care of all temple matters). Luke recorded that both of them were “upright in the sight of God.” They were wonderful God-fearing people living out their faith to the best of their ability. 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 provided in order to root the Christian faith in real history. He mentioned 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 were ordinary people of God. They were not living perfect lives, and even though they served God for a living, they weren’t getting all the blessings that they would have expected 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 important, 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.