What Jesus Did! 'How Can I Know?' — Luke 1:18-20

Thursday, January 8, 2015

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."
— Luke 1:18-20
Illustration of Luke 1:18-20 — "How can I know that what you say is true? I am an old man, and my wife is also old."

Key Thought

I'd like to think that I would not have doubted, but I know differently. Even with his years of faithfulness, the experiences and goodness God poured out upon Zechariah this day were simply too much to comprehend. Zechariah greeted the promise of heaven with less than complete trust. He wanted more proof. Our human doubt, even on our best of days, helps us understand his desire for proof. Let's be thankful that God didn't take away his grace, his gifts, or his promises simply because Zechariah couldn't quite trust the bewildering promise he was given. Most importantly, let's use Zechariah's experience to remind us that God keeps his promises to us even when they are more than we can fully comprehend.

Today's Prayer

Father, I come before you with hushed silence, in awe at your faithfulness. I bring to you the best of my faith and ask you to help my belief to be stronger still. I thank you for your many great promises—forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, the return of Jesus for me—and I commit to live my life trusting in those promises. 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 Luke 1:5-25

Related Scripture Readings

The apostles were all together. They asked Jesus, "Lord, is this the time for you to give the Jews their kingdom again?" Jesus said to them, "The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. You cannot know these things. But the Holy Spirit will come to you. Then you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—{you will tell people about me}. First, you will tell people in Jerusalem. Then you will tell people in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world." After Jesus told the apostles these things, he was lifted up into the sky. While the apostles were watching, Jesus went into a cloud, and they could not see him. Jesus was going away, and the apostles were looking into the sky. Suddenly, two men (angels) wearing white clothes stood beside them. The two men said to the apostles, "Men from Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? You saw Jesus carried away from you into heaven. He will come back in the same way you saw him go."

Acts 1:6-11

Jesus said, "Don't be troubled. Trust in God. And trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back. Then I will take you with me, so that you can be where I am.

John 14:1-3

"So, all the Jewish people should know this truly: God has made Jesus to be Lord and Christ. He is the man you nailed to the cross!" When the people heard this, they felt very, very sorry. They asked Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" Peter said to them, "Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Then God will forgive your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you. It is also for your children and for the people that are far away. It is for every person that the Lord our God calls to himself." Peter warned them with many other words; he begged them, "Save yourselves from the evil of the people that live now!" Then those people who accepted (believed) what Peter said were baptized. On that day about 3,000 people were added to the group of believers. {The believers continued to meet together.} They used their time to learn the teaching of the apostles. The believers shared with each other. They ate together and prayed together.

Acts 2:36-42

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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.