Gabriel Visits Mary  
     
 
At the conclusion of our last study Zacharias, the priest, was inside the Holy Place of Herod’s Temple. Upon entering he would have made preparations to offer incense and maybe prayed. We do not know when he saw the angel standing to the right of the Altar of Incense. But when Zacharias saw Gabriel, he was full of fear. So Gabriel encouraged him not to be fearful and told him that his prayers had been answered. Zacharias and his wife would have a son, and his name would be John. John would be filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born, and his future ministry would be in the spirit and power of Elijah. Most fathers would have been excited and thrilled that their request for a son had been granted, but not Zacharias. He complained, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” (Luke 1:18). The Greek language suggests that Zacharias thought he was too old. Apparently, Zacharias and his wife had been praying for a long time and now he could not believe this was possible. He might have stopped praying but Elizabeth had not. Elizabeth was still hoping (v. 25).
The Right Time. God had apparently waited for years before answering their prayer. He waited until Zacharias was able to offer incense in the Holy Place. He waited until Zacharias was an old man and his wife was “advanced in years.” She was much older than he was.

Zacharias said to the angel, "How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years." (NASB) Luke 1:18

But God’s timing was right. He waited until it was time for the birth of the Messiah. God is in the business of perfectly timing when He grants our requests. He waits until the “right time.” He uses circumstances to accomplish His purpose in our lives. Sometimes He is more interested in what is best for us than in our comfort. So He waited to grant Zacharias and Elizabeth their urgent petition. He accomplished His purpose and blessed them at the same time. The forerunner was coming and the Messiah was near.
 
Model of Herod's Temple
Model of Herod's Temple
 
When Gabriel announced the birth of John, Zacharias could not believe what he had heard. Instead of rejoicing, he did not believe. Instead of thanks and gratitude, he doubted.
I know a young man who had no hearing in his right ear and several years ago was going deaf in his left ear. He had visited highly recommended ear specialists in an attempt to stop the loss of his hearing. The doctors told him that there was nothing they could do for him until he was legally deaf. The doctors said that he had to loose 90-95 percent of his hearing before they could do anything for him.
Eventually, his Ménière’s disease worsened in his left ear and progressively he lost most of the hearing in the remaining ear. Now he qualified for cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is placed inside the head and replaces the inner ear. The patient is able to hear because of a hearing device on the outside of the head that is connected to the implant. The patient is able to hear again as if he had a normal ears. This was great news until he heard that the operation would cost $144,000 and it would not be covered by the medical insurance. So he started asking God to “rain money down from heaven.” God granted his request. The hospital, doctor, and the manufacturer of the cochlear implants agreed to cut their costs to $40,000. His family helped pay for the operation. He continued to ask God to pay for the operation. Just recently God emptied His bucket when it was discovered the insurance company had paid even the $40,000. God rained money from heaven for him. Originally, the insurance company had refused to pay everything, but when God grants a request, He grants a request. Nothing is impossible with God. The young man believed, and God honored his faith.
Life and Heart of Jesus
 
     
 
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