Pastor Josh Mutter began a new message series, Persons of Interest, looking at the Christmas story through the lens of how characters of the Bible responded to God’s message and to Jesus. In this first message, we journeyed with Zechariah and Elizabeth as they lived with expectation, even in the midst of pain and disappointment.
PERSONS OF INTEREST: ZECHARIAH
Message by Josh Mutter – December 15, 2019
WHAT IS ADVENT?
Advent invites us to live in the present, expecting the return of Jesus
THE LIFE OF ZECHARIAH
1. The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth shows us that God shows up in the midst of pain and disappointment
Luke 1:5-7 NIV 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.
2. Zechariah is continuing to serve God despite the pain and disappointment he has experienced
Luke 1:8-10 NIV Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
3. Advent reminds us that God shows up in those seasons of life when we are sure we have been forgotten
Luke 1:11-17 NIV 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 is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 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.”
4. Doubt does not eliminate our ability to experience God
Luke 1:18 NIV Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
5. The experience of doubt leads to the experience of understanding
Luke 1:19-20 NIV The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
HOW WILL WE WAIT?
Luke 1:21-25 NIV Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 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 favour and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
1. We wait by making room for Jesus
2. We wait by practising the life of the Kingdom