Have you ever been rendered speechless? Something so unbelievable has happened and you can’t speak of it. Not that word’s fail you, you can’t make a noise. I’ve been so frightened that I couldn’t scream. I’ve been so over wrought with happiness that I could only cry tears of joy. I’ve been caught up in laughter to the point that I couldn’t utter a word and could barely catch my breath. I’ve had laryngitis and couldn’t make a sound more audible than a whisper for days. But, never have I been as speechless as Zachariah.
Imagine not being able to speak for nine months. It is told in the book of Luke (Luke 1:1-22) that’s exactly what happened to the temple priest, Zachariah, when the angel Gabriel told him that his elderly wife, Elizabeth, was going to have a child; and that the child would prepare the people for the coming Messiah. Because he didn’t believe the angel, he was made mute until the birth of the child.
Now, imagine how it feels to once again be able to speak. Zachariah must have been ecstatic. Luke 1:67 tells us that he was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy. Finally, being able to speak again, he praises God and blesses the child in what has become known as Zechariah’s song of blessing, (the Benedictus). He bridges the Old and New Covenants, introducing the two figureheads of this New Covenant, his son John the Baptist and the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Luke 1:69-79 (NIV)
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
I remember when I first accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I felt a little like Zachariah. I wanted to tell about the love of Christ and His promise of salvation to everyone I saw. I still enjoy sharing Christ with others. Sometimes I share through words and other times by lending a helping hand to others in need. I once had a pastor who loved to make the comment in his sermon, “I can’t hear what you are saying because your actions are too loud.”
Hmmm…which is louder in your life – your words spoken or your actions taken?
Zachariah’s song of blessing is for us, just as it was for the people of his era. For the word of God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Man and his governments may change, but God’s word and promise remains the same.
Prayer: Most Gracious Father, thank you for the blessings foretold by Zachariah. Help us not to hold our tongue when we have the opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ with others, be it through the spoken word or through our actions of service. Thank you, Father, for these scriptures as we celebrate the incarnation of our Messiah this Advent season. In His name we pray. Amen.