Hope is Gone:
During the time period between the end of the Old Testament and the coming of Jesus, many of the people in the nation of Israel began to lose hope. They began to give up. The waiting was too long. The people of Israel were carried away into captivity in foreign lands. They were no longer a people. They lost their identity. “Where are you God? You said you were going to send a Messiah to deliver us and set us free.” One hundred years. Two hundred years. Three hundred years. Four hundred years went by. No Messiah. No fulfillment of the promise. People began to lose their faith and walk away from the God who had promised all of these wonderful things. But not everyone.
In the Gospel of Luke chapter one, we encounter two people who were found faithfully waiting, even though there were no external signs that God’s promises would ever come to pass. Maybe there have been times in your life where you feel like God has been silent or inactive. It seems like He hasn’t been doing anything in your life, and you wonder, “God, what’s going on? Where are you? Why aren’t you answering my prayers? Why aren’t you fulfilling the things that you had promised to me?” If that’s you, then this story will offer you hope.
The Author: Luke:
Luke was a physician who accompanied the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. After becoming a follower of Jesus, Luke began an investigation of the details surrounding the life of Jesus. He wrote, “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled a among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” (Luke 1:1-4). The Gospel of Luke is the first part of a two-part volume (along with Acts) that was written by Luke.
The thing I love about the Gospel of Luke is how this intelligent and educated man included a lot of historical, political and geographical information in his story. Because of this, we can place the Bible alongside of secular history to make comparisons and see how it fits into the timeline of the world. We can see that there are no inconsistencies or errors with the history or geography of the Bible, and if we can trust what it says about the past, then we can also trust what it says about the future.
The Story of Zecharias and Elizabeth:
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.” (Luke 1:5-7).
Luke tells us here that both Zacharias and Elizabeth came from the priestly line. To put this in a contemporary setting, we would say that they were pastor’s kids. They had an amazing godly heritage in their family lines. We see also that they were walking in righteousness and serving the Lord faithfully, even though there was no visible manifestation of the hope and promise of the Messiah. And not only that, in their personal lives they had been praying for a child, but the Lord never answered that prayer. I’m sure all throughout their 20’s they were praying, “Lord, bless us with children. Please open Elizabeth’s womb so we can have a child of our own!” All throughout their thirties, and maybe even into their forties, they continued praying for a child. And even though God never answered their prayer, they never walked away from God and said, “Forget it, God! If you’re not going to do this for us, we’re not going to serve you.” They were faithful to their God.
Their story is important because many of us ask these questions too. “Why, God? Why didn’t you answer my prayer? Why didn’t you help me out in this situation where I was in trouble?” This story will offer encouragement to those who have had these kinds of struggles.
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