3 An angel meets Zechariah in the Temple.

Numbers 6:3; Malachi 4:5–6; Luke 1:5–25

Zechariah was a priest who served in the Temple twice each year (Luke 1:5–6). How would you describe the nature of his faith in God?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

In the first century, having many children was proof of God’s favor. Childlessness was God’s curse because of sin. How might Zechariah and Elizabeth have dealt with this social prejudice for all their married lives (Luke 1:7)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

Do you think Zachariah being chosen by lot to burn incense in the Temple’s Holy Place was coincidence or God’s design (Luke 1:8–9)? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

Why would the appearance of an angel terrify Zechariah (Luke 1:10–11)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

Did Zechariah know he was seeing an angel (Luke 1:10–11)? If so, how did he know?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

After praying for a son his whole married life, now that he and his wife were past the age of childbearing, how might Zechariah have felt when he  was told that his prayer had been answered (Luke 1:13)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

The only eyewitness to all that happened in the Temple is obviously Zechariah. How do you think this story reached the ears of the gospel writer (Luke 1:5–25)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

Why might Zechariah have had no difficulty remembering the angel’s words (Luke 1:13–17)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

How well do you think Zechariah understood what his son’s ministry would be (Luke 1:17)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

Why couldn’t Zechariah believe what the angel had promised (Luke 1:18)? Why do people sometimes find it hard to believe God’s word?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

If Zechariah’s unbelief was understandable under the circumstances, why might he have been judged so harshly (Luke 1:19–20)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

Why do you think God gave Zechariah a son instead of some other man with more faith (Luke 1:19–20)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

What kinds of signs might Zechariah have made in his attempt to communicate with the people (Luke 1:21–22)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

If Zechariah had not lost his speech, what would he have most likely told the people (Luke 1:21–22)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

How different would Zechariah’s walk home have been (Luke 1:23)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

When Zechariah arrived home, how would he have greeted Elizabeth (Luke 1:23–24)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

What difficulties would Elizabeth have had in understanding her husband’s message (Luke 1:24–25)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

At what point do you  think Elizabeth came to the full realization that God was doing a miracle (Luke 1:24–25)?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending

During the reign of Herod the Great over Judea, a man of the priestly order of Abijah named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron, were upright in God’s sight, blameless in following the commandments and regulations of the Law. Despite their righteousness, they had lived beyond the age of childbearing and were still childless.

Eyewitness

Luke 1:5–7 During the reign of Herod the Great over Judea, Zechariah of the priestly order of Abijah and his wife, Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron, were upright in God’s sight, blameless in following the commandments and regulations of the Law. Despite their righteousness, they had lived beyond the age of childbearing and were still childless.
King James

Luke 1:5–7 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

Zechariah was chosen by lot to fulfill his priestly duties. He entered the Holy Place to burn incense to God. While the people gathered outside to pray, he stood before the altar. Suddenly, an angel appeared, and Zechariah was paralyzed with fear.

Eyewitness

Luke 1:8–12 Zechariah was chosen by lot to fulfill his priestly duties. He entered the Holy Place to burn incense to God. While the people gathered outside to pray, he stood before the altar. Suddenly, an angel appeared, and Zechariah became paralyzed with fear.
King James

Luke 1:8–12 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah,” the angel said. “God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a son. You must name him John. He will bring you great joy, and many will rejoice at his birth. God will recognize him as a great man. He must never drink wine or other fermented beverages. Even before birth, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Eyewitness

Numbers 6:3 They must drink no wine or anything intoxicating, nothing fermented, containing alcohol. Consume no fruit from the vine, not even grape juice, fresh grapes, or raisins.
Luke 1:13–15 “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,” the angel said. “God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a son. You must name him John. “He will bring you great joy, and many will rejoice at his birth. “God will recognize him as a great man. He must never drink wine or other fermented beverages. Even before birth, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
King James

Numbers 6:3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
Luke 1:13–15 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

“He will turn many Israelites back to the Lord their God. In the spirit and power of Elijah, he will soften the hearts of fathers toward their children and cause the rebellious to accept godly wisdom. He will prepare the people for the Lord’s coming.”

Eyewitness

Malachi 4:5–6 See, I will send the prophet Elijah before that awesome and fearful day when the Lord comes. He will soften the hearts of fathers toward their children and children toward their fathers. Otherwise, I would come and curse the earth.
Luke 1:16–17 “He will turn many Israelites back to the Lord their God. “In the spirit and power of Elijah, he will soften the hearts of fathers toward their children and cause the rebellious to accept godly wisdom. He will prepare the people for the Lord’s coming.”
King James

Malachi 4:5–6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Luke 1:16–17 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

“How can this be?” Zechariah said. “This is impossible. I am an old man, and my wife is also too old.”

Eyewitness

Luke 1:18 “How can this be?” Zechariah said. “This is impossible. I am an old man, and my wife is also too old.”
King James

Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

“I am Gabriel, sent from God to bring you this good news. Because you have not believed me, you will be unable to speak a word until the day of your son’s birth. All I have said will be fulfilled in due time.”

Eyewitness

Luke 1:19–20 “I am Gabriel, sent from God to bring you this good news. Because you have not believed me, you will be unable to speak a word until the day of your son’s birth. All I have said will be fulfilled in due time.”
King James

Luke 1:19–20 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Outside, the people waited and wondered why the priest had stayed so long in the Holy Place. When he came out and could not speak, but kept making signs with his hands, they were sure he had seen a vision.

Eyewitness

Luke 1:21–22 Outside, the people waited and wondered why the priest had stayed so long in the Holy Place. When he came out and could not speak, but kept making signs with his hands, they were sure he had seen a vision.
King James

Luke 1:21–22 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.

After completing his time of service in the Temple, Zechariah returned home. His wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went off by herself for five months. “This is the Lord’s doing,” she said. “In these last days, he has shown his favor and has taken away my disgrace.”

Eyewitness

Luke 1:23–25 After completing his time of service in the Temple, he returned home. His wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went off by herself for five months. “This is the Lord’s doing,” she said. “In these last days, he has shown his favor and has taken away my disgrace.”
King James

Luke 1:23–25 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.