Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ. 1 Peter 4:13 (NIV) Now why does Peter say, “Rejoice…that you participate in the sufferings of Christ?” Because if you share in his sufferings, you will also share in his glory (4:13). Christ was despised and rejected in this world, but now...
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah… And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. Luke 1:5-6
Elizabeth was a godly woman and she was married to Zechariah who was a priest. The couple did not have children, and Luke tells us that they were advanced in years (1:7).
An angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah while he was serving in the temple and announced that Elizabeth would bear him a son. He did not believe the promise, and the power of speech was taken from him. Nobody is helped by the words of a priest who does not believe the Word of God, and so Zechariah was silenced until the promise of God was fulfilled.
Think about this from Elizabeth’s perspective: Her husband comes home from work, and he is unable to speak. He makes signs, he writes words on a tablet, but he remains silent.
Then some time later, to her great joy, she finds that she is pregnant. Weeks and then months pass, and one day there is a knock at the door. It is Mary, a relative in her family.
The visit would have been a complete surprise to Elizabeth. We live in a world of planning. Who is coming for Christmas? When are they coming? And when are they leaving?
But the ancient world was very different. It was full of surprises. With no cell phones, texts, or emails to make endless arrangements, they lived in a world where people just showed up. And that is what happened here.
How would you react if somebody just showed up at your house this Christmas?