In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.. Luke 1:5-15a
I admit, most of the time this passage is read at Christmas, not Lent! Yet, here we are - invited to eavesdrop on a miraculous encounter between Zechariah and God. Zechariah could have never expected such an encounter with God! During the Christmas season we are tempted to fast forward to the birth of Christ. But as we make our way through this fifth week of Lent, let us consider what that must have been like
for Zechariah. His life wasn’t perfect or glamorous, but he seems content enough. This day in church started out like any other day…
More to Ponder:
Has there been a moment in recent history where you have been awestruck by the goodness of God? Has God placed someone in your life at just the right moment and you thought, “Wow! This is amazing!” How can entering God’s sanctuary - that safe place in your heart where
the Peace of God dwells - invite you to enter a grace so amazing that only a whispered, “Thank you, God” will do?
As you journey through this fifth week of Lent, choose one or more recommendations from the prayer guide to enhance your experience.