December 13, 2006

Zechariah the Prophet

Luke 1:57-75

Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied ... Luke 1:67


The Old Testament often talks about prophets and priests. A prophet spoke to the people on behalf of God. A priest spoke to God on behalf of the people. Zechariah was performing the function of a priest in the temple when the angel Gabriel told him that his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child. This happened while Zechariah was praying to God on behalf of the people, asking God to forgive their sins.

Yesterday we saw how Zechariah was silenced for his unbelief. But Luke is also telling us that the entire Old Testament priesthood was being silenced--there would soon no longer be any need for a priest to speak to God on behalf of the people. With the announcement of John's birth, the stage was set for the coming of Christ, who is the only High Priest we will ever need. Jesus speaks to God for us, and we can all pray to God through Jesus Christ.

When John was born, Zechariah was finally able to speak again. But when he spoke, it was not as a priest but as a prophet. We read that after John was born "Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied." Instead of speaking to God on behalf of the people, he was now speaking to the people about the goodness, greatness, and grace of God, who would soon send the Savior.

O God, thank you that we can pray to you through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May we be filled with your Spirit and tell of your goodness to others. Amen.

About the author — Joel Sheeres

Rev. Joel Sheeres is the pastor at First Christian Reformed Church in Crown Point, Indiana. He and his wife, Christine, have three children. Pastor Sheeres has previously served at Faith Christian Reformed Church in Elmhurst, Illinois.

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