Actualization of a Ministry Miracle
Luke chapter one includes an extraordinary story of a Ministry Miracle: John the Baptist. Most bible readers know that John’s parents were elderly and his mother was barren (Luke 1:7). It was not likely, in the normal course of nature, that Zacharias and Elizabeth would ever have a child at this stage of their lives. But Zacharias had been praying for a son (Luke 1:13). God honored his request.
The account recorded in chapter one of Luke outlines an order of significance regarding the Manifestation of the Ministry Miracle entrusted to the priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth. Let’s see what Luke’s reporting reveals.
- Luke 1:5 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.
Vocational and Family History. These two people were prepared for what they (or at least, he) were expecting. His calling as a priest and their family heritage helped prepare them for a blessing from the Lord. We don’t choose the lineage we come from but we do create a spiritual heritage for those who follow after us. Living a life that is serviced to the Lord builds a foundation that our descendants can build on. The life you live affects those who come after you. How we choose to live can make life easier or more difficult for the next generations. Believers should live so that our children and grandchildren don’t spend the bulk of their lives trying to overcome the shady reputations of those who went before them. We are to be honorable in all of our associations. All types of employment are not honorable. The vocation we choose is important. Are you in the field that the Lord has designed and destined for your life? Are you leaving a spiritually strong legacy for the next generations?
- Luke 1: 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
The spiritual posture and dedication of this couple was exemplary. They were committed to the ways of God and did not waver. They were secure in their beliefs and conducted themselves accordingly.
- Luke 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
When God is going to actualize a miracle the natural odds are always against you. But there is no force, situation, circumstance or diagnosis that is greater than our God. It doesn’t matter what happened before or what didn’t happen before. At the appointed time God will bring to pass whatever He has determined.
- Luke 1:8-9 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.
Be diligent in your calling and work your assignments well. Don’t be late. Be reliable. Don’t be absent when you are expected or scheduled. Don’t take shortcuts. Zacharias was diligent in executing his priestly duties. Nobody always feels like showing up and giving 100%. But we are to do what we do as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). If you knew that the Lord was personally inspecting your work and your attitude, would He be pleased?
- Luke 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
It is wise and of utmost importance to have like-spirited people in close proximity both naturally and spiritually. We need support. No one person can complete their assignments alone. The prayers of the righteous avail much (James 5:16) and set the atmosphere for the presence and power of God to operate.
- Luke 1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
You may not see an angel or have a conversation with an angel. But angels are present all around us. You are not alone. God will hasten His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). God will provide confirmation and encouragement while you are doing what He called you to do. Don’t give up. Help is present.
- Luke 1:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
The natural man cannot comprehend or understand the vastness, the breadth and depth of what God can and will do on your behalf. Even believers often try to explain or grasp the ways of God according to their human intellect. It doesn’t work. (I Corinthians 2:14)
- Luke 1:13 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.
This verse, this one sentence is remarkable! It demonstrates a five-point consolation that is astounding!
- Fear not…you have nothing to fear. This is a message of comfort.
- Zacharias…this is so personal. They are the only two there so there is no mistaking who Gabriel is addressing but the angel still calls him by name. God knows exactly who you are, where you are, what you desire and what you have been dealing with your entire life.
- thy prayer is heard…acknowledgment and assurance that all you have been believing and doing is not in vain.
- and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son…his whole household is affirmed, included and expanded.
- and thou shalt call his name John…divine instructions are always a source of comfort to obedient souls.
- Luke 1:14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
Not only will there be a personal or individual response of joy and gladness but this Ministry Miracle will also produce an ever-widening circle of gladness among those who love the Lord. This particular manifestation of the birth and ministry of young John still makes hearts rejoice even today.
Luke 1:15-17 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.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 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.
The purpose and assignment of the blessing and ministry must be made known. Godly instructions are always vital. We may not understand the importance of divine direction. God does not explain everything. He wants us to do what He says because we trust and revere Him. In His own way, God will reveal the character of the ministry gift, the discipline required to strengthen and distinguish the gift and the undeniable power of God that is present and active through the gift.
- Luke 1:18-20 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 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.
20 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.
There is a consequence for doubt and unbelief. We should not entertain doubt or unbelief on any level or minimize their effects in our lives and ministry. We can still function when dealing with the consequences of not wholeheartedly embracing what the Lord has said. But we don’t function as easily. Doubt and unbelief foster restrictions and limitations and our interactions with others require more effort for them and for us.
Luke 1: 21-22 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 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.
When God is dealing with you in a special way, other people notice even if you don’t say anything about it. There is a different anointing and a different grace on your life when the Lord has chosen you for a unique assignment.
- Luke 1:23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
Don’t try to move ahead or above what the Lord has said. When you have completed what you were summoned to do at this point, go home. Don’t attempt to create a platform. Don’t do any more or any less than has been communicated to you at this point. When further communication is needed, God will provide it. Use this time to study, meditate, rest, refresh, spend time with your family and friends. Keep doing what pleases the Lord and share His love in abundance.
- Luke 1:24-25 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
The actualization of what God promised shows up! It is wise not to go shouting from the rooftops what has taken place. In due time the blessing, the ministry, the anointing will become evident. God will introduce what He has done for you in His own way and in His own time.
This outlines fourteen points of significance that are evident in this story. What are you expecting from the Lord? Are you prepared to receive it when He sends it? Are you faithful in all that He has already entrusted to you? Have you already settled in your mind and spirit that you have left no opportunity for doubt and unbelief to influence your journey? I pray that you are encouraged and fortified in your expectations from the Lord.