What Jesus Did! 'Once in a Lifetime' — Luke 1:8-10

Sunday, January 4, 2015

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.
— Luke 1:8-10
Illustration of Luke 1:8-10 —  They were praying at the time the incense was offered.

Key Thought

In Zechariah's day, a priest often served God all of his life and never got to enter the sanctuary and burn incense before the Lord. But God chose for this day to be Zechariah's day. So often, we "go to church" with little or no expectation of something great happening to us. Once again, Zechariah reminds us that God has a plan and purpose and likes to surprise us with those things at just the right time. Don't give up on God's purpose for you! Keep on doing the next right thing and trust that God will not only see you through, but also that he just might surprise you with a once-in-a-lifetime experience one day when you thought you were just going to church!

Today's Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, fill me with expectation when I go to be with your people who are gathered to worship you. Surprise me with your grace, mercy, and power. Use me, dear LORD, to do your work in my world. In Jesus' name. 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

We know that in everything God works for the good of those people that love him. These are the people God called (chose), because that was his plan. God knew those people before he made the world. And God decided that those people would be like his Son (Jesus). Then Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. God planned for those people to be like his Son. And he called (chose) those people. God called those people and made them right with him. And God gave his glory to those people that he made right.

Romans 8:28-30

I was very happy when people said, "Let us go to the Lord's temple. "

Psalm 122:1

And so, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place. We can do this without fear because of the blood (death) of Jesus. We can enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way. This new way leads through the curtain —Christ's body. And we have a great priest who rules the house (people) of God. We have been cleansed and made free from feelings of guilt. And our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere (true) heart, feeling sure because of our faith. We should hold strongly to the hope that we have. And we should never fail to tell people about our hope. We can trust God to do what he promised. We should think about each other and see how we can help each other to show love and do good things. We should not quit meeting together. That's what some people are doing. But we should {meet together and} encourage each other. You should do this more and more as you see the Day coming.

Hebrews 10:19-25

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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.