The amazing story of the birth of John the Baptist began with an angel of the Lord who appeared to Zechariah, his father, as he served in the temple. He was so terrified at the appearance that the first thing the angel said was “do not be afraid.” After learning that God would answer his lifelong prayer for a son, Zechariah, a devout priest for life, chose to doubt God rather than believe! God enabling his wife Elizabeth to bear a son past the age of childbearing did not fit Zechariah’s view of God.
Can you imagine if you were Zechariah? You have been a passionate, committed priest serving God for a lifetime. You are old and now an angel appears and shakes up your view of God and his plan for your life! How would you respond?
It appears that Zechariah, over time, fell into complacency. As a believer, I must remember it is never too late to learn and grow. Darrell Bock summarizes this thought well when he says,
The lesson that pious Zechariah learns is important, especially to those who have a rich spiritual heritage. He is a man of lifelong faith who still needed to grow. It is all too easy to view one’s spiritual life as something that can be mastered rather than something to be maintained
Bock goes on to say,
Often we are tempted, on the basis of past experience, to put our spiritual well-being on cruise control and rest on the laurels of a tradition of activity.
These observations make me want to ask myself, “am I teachable”? Have I put my spiritual pursuit of God on cruise control without realizes it? Am I open to God shaking up my world by allowing him to accomplish his will in my life in a way I had not anticipated?
Father, thank you for the captivating story of the birth of John the Baptist who was born at just the right time and in the exact way you wanted it to happen. His dad, Zechariah did not understand how you could accomplish the great miracle of John’s birth. I cannot fully understand you or your ways either. Help me to not become complacent by thinking I have you “figured out.” Instead, help me to be like Zechariah, who as a result of your work in his life responded in faith and with words of praise when he said,
“’He asked for a writing tablet and he wrote, ‘his name is John.’ And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.” (Luke 1:63-64)
May we be teachable and passionate about following God his way. May we be blessed to always be surprised by God and how he works in our lives.
Following Jesus with you,
 IBID, p. 79