The first chapter of Luke provides the only details about Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist. They are described as righteous and blameless. Elizabeth is barren.
The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah in the temple and astonishes him with the announcement that he will have a son. Because he is an old man, Zechariah doubts that this is possible. In response Gabriel tells Zechariah that he won’t be able to speak until the baby is born. Is this punishment? Or discipline?
In the quiet months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Zechariah had the opportunity to search the scriptures and gain an understanding of God’s plan. I like to think that God gave Zechariah an intermission to prepare for the birth and parenting of John.
Zechariah’s song demonstrates his new understanding and his faith.
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1: 76-79
Sometimes we may benefit from an intermission. When the world around us is confusing, we need time reading and meditating on God’s word. It is good to pause and be still, knowing that Jesus is our sunrise.