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“So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’” (Luke 1:8-13)
In those days, the high priest would enter the Sanctuary once a year, and the people would wait outside.
Zacharias was chosen by lot among the priests to enter the Sanctuary that year.
I ask, “Did it really happen by chance? The angel appeared to Zacharias, so don’t you think it was God’s plan?”
Yes, that’s right! God knew Zacharias. He stood out among the other priests. He was righteous, and so was his wife.
And to be righteous is to live by faith!
God knew Zacharias was there for a cause: he was there to intercede for the people, and not for personal gain.
Had Zacharias entered the Sanctuary for personal reasons, God would never have appeared to him.
But before Zacharias entered the Sanctuary, he already had a well-defined faith! He was a priest and served the people… Every time they presented sin offerings for atonement, he felt their pain.
He ‘silenced’ his pain to serve God unconditionally, without caring about the circumstances.
He did not have children because his wife was barren…
But when a person decides to believe in God, not because of what God can do for him or her, but because of what He means to them, they become righteous — they examine themselves and cut the evil at its root. They are merciless against feelings and selfishness.
As much as it may feel unfair that a priest could not have children, the truth is that it was not Zacharias’ biggest dream… His biggest dream was to serve God and give life to the people!
His desire to have a child did not overshadow his faith! It did not prevent him from serving and honouring God as a priest.
His thirst for justice, his desire to see the people getting their needs met, caused the angel to appear to him.
“… he was troubled, and fear fell upon him…”
When God ‘appears’ to a person, that person is overwhelmed with fear. One cannot receive a “wonderful word” and carry on the same life… If there is no fear, then it was not God who spoke!
When God speaks to us, we do not remain passive, but we are ‘shaken’ — until His promises are fulfilled.
People around us are waiting for the results of our faith!
If we are not selfish, not only will we get the results we want but we will also realise our greatest dream, just as it happened to Zacharias!