Reading for the Commemoration of Zacharias and Elizabeth

For the commemoration of Zacharias and Elizabeth today, we read a devotion from Prepare the Way: Sermons and Sermonic Studies for Advent and Christmas.


Zacharias and Elizabeth were blessed to be the parents of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah. After John’s birth, Zacharias blessed God for the gift of his child, the one who would share the good news of the coming Savior. We too can bless God for the gift of everlasting life, which He has delivered to us through this Savior. May God fill our hearts with joy and bring the words to our lips to help us sing His praises!

Devotional Reading

Not having children, the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth prayed often for a child. Then one day, when Zechariah was serving at the altar, God told him by an angel that his wife would have a child, a boy, who was to be named John. The joy would be doubled because this boy in manhood would prepare people for the coming of the Savior. Questioning the announcement, Zechariah was struck with loss of speech. When the boy was born, there was much joy. And as soon as he was named “John,” Zechariah, with tongue loosed, said a strong good word about God and about the child.

Zechariah blessed God, first, for visiting and redeeming His people, and second, for giving him a boy who would announce the coming of the Savior. His benediction gives more thanks for salvation than for the baby. . . .

God spoke specifically and directly to Zechariah. Would He do so for me? He could, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37). But will He? God has already given us guidance, promises, revelation in Scripture. The question might be rephrased, “Has God spoken to me as He did to Zechariah with words of blessing and promise?” The answer is yes—through Scripture. Believers listen to Jesus saying, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31–32).

Zechariah was reassured. Prophets of old predicted the coming of a Messiah and His forerunner. As Zechariah said in his good word, his child would be part of God’s benediction. Any immediate, extraordinary revelation could never contradict, alter, or add to what already was “inspired by God and profitable . . . that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17).

While it was not first on Zechariah’s list, it could well be on ours . . . that we thank Him for the gift of life and all that sustains it. Jesus is our Life; in Him is life (John 1:4). He is the Blessed One, “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15).

Take comfort, friend; your life is not unknown to the Lord. Ps. 139 expresses it well. The Lord has searched and known you. He knows when you sit down and when you rise up. He discerns your thoughts. He is acquainted with all your ways (vv. 1–3). That is why you can begin every new year with joy, and every month and every week and every day and every moment.

Prayer: Luke 1:68–70

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
   for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
   in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.

Read Treasury of Daily Prayer

Devotional reading is from Prepare the Way: Sermons and Sermonic Studies for Advent and Christmas, pages 45, 47 © 1988 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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