The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. 6Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
Look at what we know about the parents of John the Baptist. Yes, they are of the priestly line of Aaron, Moses’ brother. This did give the special requirements and privileges in that society. But God could create that from stones. That doesn’t speak as to who they were and why they were who the were.
They lived in a society where bearing children and perpetuating the family name meant everything. As a matter of fact it was so important that if a man died barren, his brother was expected to marry the man’s wife and raise children in his stead, Yet Zechariah and Elizabeth were very old and barren.
It was easy for a man to divorce his wife at that time. It was also perfectly acceptable for a man to have more than one wife. Women were like property back then and Zechariah had options. Elizabeth would have been horribly shamed by the situation and would have probably been very willing to allow Zechariah to take another wife. She could then be a quiet member in a priestly house that no longer bore the shame of being without an heir.
Yet that doesn’t appear to have been the case. It looks as if both of them have made the choice to love and care for each other and put their faith in God. By the time they reached this “very old” age, that faith must have no long been a hope for a son, but an acceptance of whatever God had planned for them, and them obviously meant both of them, together, “till death do us part”.
An this is the couple God chose. People committed to love of God, and love of each other. Nothing complex or outstanding, at the time it may have even been viewed as a shameful choice. But they didn’t make the choice with any desire to please others, but to please God.
God, help me today to make this same choice. To live a simple life choosing day in and day out to love you and have faith in you, and to love my spouse Susie and have faith in her. God, help me to commit to you, not because you give me what I think I need, but because I love you and have faith in you. And help me to commit to Susie, not because she fulfills my every need and makes all my dreams come true, but because I love her and have faith in her.
Matthew 22:38 Jesus replied. “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’c 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’d 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Susie is much more than just your neighbor.