READY, WILLING, AND ABLE
Show me Lord, the whole earth full of your glory. Keep this vision before my eyes.
Read LUKE 1:1-17
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
- Luke 1:1 Or been surely believed
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre you ready, willing and able to follow the signs to Jesus over this festive time? Tell God that like Zechariah, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you will be available for him.
Here we meet the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, old but faithful servants of God (v 6). Zechariah is doing his duty at the temple (v 8) and a cast of worshippers are praying outside. Into this regular routine God speaks through his angel. Normal and supernatural come together, and God’s promises are about to be fulfilled.
Zechariah had presumably long since given up on the hope of a son. But God knew he had remained faithful to him through all trials. Unbeknown to him his whole life had been preparation for this momentous day. We might not be able to claim a blameless past like Zechariah. But the important thing is that we trust and obey God now and are available to take our part, being exactly where God wants us to be.
Verse 17 quotes the last words of God in Malachi (Malachi 4:5,6). John, who people will think is Elijah, will lead people to his Lord. Thanks to God’s Spirit, John will be ready, willing and able before he is even born.
Praise God for his presence in your life, and for all that is to come. ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!’*
Holy One, during this Christmas season, give me a renewed sense of wonder at your visitation to us in your Son. What a visitor he was and what a visit it was. Hallelujah!
*’Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,’ Joachim Neander 1680
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