Date written: June 24th, 2007
Scripture ref: Luke 1:5-7
TITLE: Lessons from the Life of Zacharias
PROPOSITION: While we don't know must about Zacharias life, we can gain great lessons from his 1) Example of Life, 2) Expression of Doubt, and 4) Exclamation of Faith.
Objectives: That we would allow the life of Zacharias to motivate us toward faithful living in our lives as well.
1. Read: Luke 1:5-7
2. About the Text:
1) Unlike Matthew and Mark, Luke begins his narrative of the gospel story with the account of John the baptizer's conception and birth.
2) This story must have been very well known, for the things that happened to Zacharias were of a public record.
3) Zacharias was a priest of God and served in the temple.
4) It was his opportunity to perform the offering of incense, a once in a lifetime event for a priest of that day and age.
5) Everyone was watching what happened to him and Elizabeth.
6) We learn some great lessons from what little we know of Zacharias' life.
7) His name has significance as well.
8) One of the Old Testament prophets has the same name.
9) It means “Jehovah is remembered.”
10) What better way for the coming of the messiah to be announced into the world than by one whose father's name signified “Jehovah is remembered”!
3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: Consider Zacharias'
I. Example of Life
1. The Bible says that he and Elisabeth were both righteous and they walked blameless.
2. He was righteous.
1) For Jews, this meant that they lived lives that were honest toward their fellow man.
2) Although Elisabeth hadn't born Zacharias children, he took seriously God's pronouncement regarding divorce in Malachi.
3) Malachi 2:16 “For I hate putting away, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, and him that covereth his garment with violence, saith Jehovah of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”
4) He lived with her all of his life without putting her away while many around them in that time were divorcing and remarrying at will.
5) What a great example of faithfulness to the Lord they provided for those around them.
6) Righteousness would have also meant that he dealt fairly with his fellow family, friends, and co-workers.
7) Being a priest in the service of the temple at this time would have been a high responsibility given all of the political things happening around him.
8) Zacharias performed his service admirably.
9) We know that priests in this day and age had to draw lots to offer the incense.
10) We know that it was such a rare privilege that they only were allowed to do this once in a lifetime if at all.
11) Zacharias was an old man; he must have thought that his time to offer incense would never come.
12) But he was patient and it arrived.
13) Perhaps he knew Ecclesiastes 7:8 “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”
14) Sometimes we have good things that we must wait for in life as well.
15) Here is an example of patience in Zacharias' life.
3. He was also blameless before God.
1) The text says that he walked in all of the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
2) This was hard enough to do for the average Jew.
3) Peter called the law a yoke of bondage that was placed upon the Jewish people (Acts 15:10).
4) Nevertheless, God's word could be followed and Zacharias did follow the Lord's word blamelessly.
5) Zacharias obviously loved God and knew the first and great commandment.
6) Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
7) This word meant that no one could raise anything against him so far as his public execution of God's word was concerned.
8) It didn't meant that he was sinless or flawless in the execution of God's law.
9) However, in that day and age, there were great temptations upon Jews to compromise God's commandments.
10) Gentiles brought among them lascivious lifestyles.
11) Adultery and fornication were common things under the rule of Rome.
12) Zacharias eschewed all of these unholy activities and practiced faithfulness to the Lord.
13) He was blameless.
14) What a tremendous example for us to today.
15) If in a time when God's law was strict and a heavy yoke, one man could stand out as serving God blameless in all of his work, then surely in a time when we have mercy, grace, and forgiveness from God we can life in a way that is faithful to him.
16) Those who reject the Lord will be utterly without excuse and will have to face Zacharias in the judgment day.
17) Hebrews 10:28-29 “A man that hath set at nought Moses law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”
4. What a wonderful example of life Zacharias gives us.
II. Expression of Doubt
1. An amazing thing happened in the temple the day Zacharias offered the incense.
1) While he was inside the holy of place, an angel appeared to him.
2) Zacharias was troubled and fear fell upon him.
3) You can imagine what he might have thought.
4) “I've done something wrong and God has sent this angel to smite me!”
5) Perhaps thoughts of Nadab and Abihu went through his mind.
6) But the angel didn't rebuke him for his worship.
7) He told him that his prayer had been heard.
8) He simply had an announcement to make.
9) Elizabeth his wife was going to have a son and he was to call his name John.
10) John was not to drink wine or strong drink.
11) He was to be a prophet in the spirit and power of Elijah.
12) Then Zacharias asked the wrong question.
13) He asked how God was going to do this since he and Elizabeth were old.
14) He probably knew better if he had studied the life of Abraham and Sarah.
15) Nevertheless he allowed his weakness to come through and expressed doubt.
16) So, Gabriel, the angel, gave him a sign. He would not be able to speak for a time.
17) He said this was done because Zacharias did not believe Gabriel's words.
18) After he exited the holy place, the people were waiting around because he had been in there a longer time than normal.
19) He came out but he couldn't speak and they perceived he had seen a vision.
2. We learn a great deal from Zacharias' doubt.
1) Doubts come even to the most faithful.
a. The apostles doubted the testimony of the women after Jesus' resurrection (Matthew 28:17, Mark 16:11).
b. Thomas doubted the testimony of the other apostles after Jesus resurrection (John 20:24-25).
c. Jesus gave them what they needed to believe.
2) Regardless of our doubts, however, God expects us to believe His message when it is sent through a reliable and trustworthy source.
a. Mark 16:14 “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”
b. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing the word of God.
c. Such is what Gabriel said to Zacharias as well.
d. Luke 1:19-20 “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.”
3) Doubts can be overcome by an honest investigation of truth.
a. Jesus told Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27).
b. Jesus said to the Jews, “But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (John 5:36)
3. While Zacharias doubted, he was able to overcome his doubts and live by faith.
III. Exclamation of Faith
1. Zacharias came to believe Gabriel's words as events unfolded.
1) Elizabeth conceived and she bore a son.
2) The eighth day came and it was time for his circumcision.
3) This was also the day of naming the baby.
4) The family wanted to call him Zacharias after his father.
5) Zacharias, however, rejected this name, evidently with much protest.
6) He wrote that his name should be called “John” just as Gabriel had said.
7) At this point God loosed his tongue and he could speak again.
8) Zacharias then prophesied in the Spirit.
9) We have the prophesy recorded for us in Luke 1:57-69.
2. Zacharias exclamation of faith...
1) Spoke of salvation.
a. This salvation was to come through the house of David.
b. Jesus had already been conceived at this time and the prophesy was in reference to his coming.
c. That it would fulfill the oath God gave to Abraham that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18).
d. This salvation would come in the lifetime of John the baptizer.
e. In Galatians 3:16 Paul wrote, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
2) Spoke of faithfulness.
a. Zacharias spoke of serving the Lord without fear, in holiness, and righteousness all the days of our life (Luke 1:74-75).
b. We are called to serve God without fear.
c. Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
d. 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
e. Consider also Hebrews 12:14 "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:"
3) Spoke of John's preaching God's word.
a. John was to be a prophet and announce the coming of the Messiah.
b. He would preach salvation unto remission of sins.
c. He would preach to those in darkness that they can come into the light.
d. John 1:7-8 “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”
e. Luke 3:3 “And he came into all the region round about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins;”
f. It was John who first said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
3. What a tremendous reversal from doubt to faith and proclamation of the same.
1. From the life of Zacharias we have his ...
1) Example of Life
2) Expression of Doubt
3) Exclamation of Faith