What Jesus Did! 'It All Begins with Faithfulness' — Luke 1:5-7

Saturday, January 3, 2015

During the time when Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah. Zechariah belonged to Abijah's group. Zechariah's wife came from the family of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Zechariah and Elizabeth were truly good people before God. They did everything the Lord (God) commanded and told people to do. They were without fault. But Zechariah and Elizabeth had no children. Elizabeth could not have a baby; and both of them were very old.
— Luke 1:5-7
Illustration of Luke 1:5-7 —  They were without fault.

Key Thought

Sometimes, when things aren't going as well as we hope, we are tempted to give up on our righteous commitments to God. "What's the use?" we sometimes think to ourselves, "It surely doesn't seem to be paying off for me!" God gives us Zechariah and Elizabeth to help us not give up in our discouragement, impatience, and frustration. The beginning of the Gospel is found in two, old, faithful followers of God. They were righteous in God's eyes even though their most fervent desire to have a child had not been granted by God. They honored God because it was right. Out of that faithfulness came the beginning of our salvation story in Luke. So the next time you find yourself discouraged and ready to give up because your prayers seem unanswered, remember this old couple and their joyous surprise as revealed in the following verses. It's worth the wait to share in God's glory!

Today's Prayer

Holy and righteous God, my Abba Father, forgive me for the times that I have let discouragement and impatience cause me to stumble and even give up for a time. I do believe that you are at work in my life and want to use my life to help others find Jesus. Please give me strength to live before you righteously as Zechariah and Elizabeth did. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

During the time when Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah. Zechariah belonged to Abijah's group. Zechariah's wife came from the family of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Zechariah and Elizabeth were truly good people before God. They did everything the Lord (God) commanded and told people to do. They were without fault. But Zechariah and Elizabeth had no children. Elizabeth could not have a baby; and both of them were very old. Zechariah was serving as a priest before God for his group. It was his group's time to serve. The priests always chose one priest to offer the incense. Zechariah was chosen to do this. So Zechariah went into the temple of the Lord (God) to offer the incense. There were many, many people outside. They were praying at the time the incense was offered. Then, on the right side of the incense table, an angel of the Lord (God) came and stood before Zechariah. When he saw the angel, Zechariah was upset and very afraid. But the angel said to him, "Zechariah, don't be afraid. Your prayer has been heard by God. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a baby boy. You must name him John. You will be very, very happy. Many people will be happy because of his birth. John will be a great man for the Lord (God). He will never drink wine or liquor. Even at the time when John is being born, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. John will help many Jews return to the Lord their God. John himself will go first before the Lord. John will be powerful like Elijah. He will have the same spirit Elijah had. He will make peace between fathers and their children. Many people are not obeying God. John will bring those people back to the right way that people should think. He will make people ready for the coming of the Lord." Zechariah said to the angel, "How can I know that what you say is true? I am an old man, and my wife is also old." The angel answered him, "I am Gabriel. I always stand ready before God. God sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. Now, listen! You will not be able to talk until the day when these things happen. You will lose your speech. Why? Because you did not believe what I told you. But these things will really happen." Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah. They were surprised that he was staying so long in the temple. Then Zechariah came outside, but he could not speak to them. So the people knew that Zechariah had seen a vision F9 inside the temple. Zechariah could not speak. He could only make signs to the people. When Zechariah's time of service was finished, he went home. Later, Zechariah's wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant. So she did not go out of her house for five months. Elizabeth said, "Look what the Lord (God) has done for me! He decided to help me have a baby. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me."

Luke 1:5-25

Related Scripture Readings

Yes, God is working in you. God helps you want to do the things that please him. And he gives you the power to do these things.

Philippians 2:13

Don't worry and say, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' All the people that don't know God try to get these things. Don't worry, because your Father in heaven knows that you need these things. The thing you should want most is God's kingdom and doing the good things God wants you to do. Then all these other things you need will be given to you.

Matthew 6:31-33

In the past, your spiritual lives were dead because of your sins and the things you did wrong against God. Yes, in the past you lived doing those sins. You lived the way the world lives. You followed the ruler of the evil powers over the earth. That same spirit is now working in those people who refuse to obey God. In the past, all of us lived like those people. We lived trying to please our sinful selves. We did all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We were {evil} people. We should have suffered God's anger because of the way we were. We were the same as all other people. But God's mercy is very great, and God loved us very much. We were {spiritually} dead. We were dead because of the things we did wrong against God. But God gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God's grace (kindness). And God raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavenly places. God did this for us who are in Christ Jesus. God did this so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace. God shows that grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus. I mean that you are saved by grace. And you got that grace by believing. You did not save yourselves. It was a gift from God. No! You are not saved by the things you have done. So no person can boast {that he saved himself}. God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would do good things. God had already planned those good things for us. God had planned for us to live our lives doing those good things.

Ephesians 2:1-10

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.