Over the next three weeks, here on Distinctivemode, we are launching an Encounter Series. Simply, each week we are going to be looking into three encounters in the beginning of Luke, between God and his people… The plan is to give insight, study together, share our individual insights in the comments, and mostly, to encounter God! In or out? Let’s get started!
Luke 1:5-25 tells the story of a wonderful encounter between God and Zechariah!
Firstly, take a look at verses 5-11. Here we see a righteous man encounter an angel – Zechariah encounters God in the temple, during worship. He was chosen, and as he stepped into the holy place (into God’s dwelling place) he immediately encountered God through the appearance of an angel! There was no-one else around – just him and God. This example gives so much to learn, but simply, it demonstrates how when we go before God, and invite him to dwell with us in worship, we encounter immeasurably more…
When we begin to talk about encounters with God, there is no doubt, that all of us at some point will begin to feel fear – after all, if an angel appeared in your church, service or bible study, you would definitely be nervous, even if only a little surprised! Encounters can be inexplicable and it certainly was for Zechariah, noted in verses 12-13: at the start of his encounter, Zechariah was fearful, however, this angel brought peace, encouragement, good news, and promise! When we encounter God, we are overcome with peace, love and grace, for God’s very nature is peace, love and grace. Just as it demonstrates, as much as we may fear an encounter with God, we can be confident and know that once we submit, and enter God’s presence, it’s not fearful at all, but wonderful, encouraging and peaceful!
But what was the purpose of the encounter? God spoke a promise over Zechariah, that his wife was to have a baby (v13) and that this child, was to be named John. God also spoke a promise over John’s life (v14-17) – God set his holy spirit in him and designed him for the wonders that he would later do; John was created for a purpose and this purpose was to make people prepared for the coming of Jesus. In the same way, God has fitted you for a purpose, and for an encounter(s) – to prepare one another for Jesus’ return!
Unfortunately, in verses 18-20, things begin to take a turn for the worse… Zechariah knew his weaknesses, and he allowed these the get in the way. He didn’t have faith that God could enable him (despite his weakness) and Elizabeth to have this promised child, and to bring him up. Zechariah doubted. Because of his doubt, Zechariah was left unable to speak – perhaps not as a punishment, but simply, because he doubted, he stepped outside of God’s presence and therefore, outside of the truth of God’s word? This may only be my interpretation, but either way, doubt hinders us, and brings us away from the truth, of God’s power to enable.
Ultimately, the promise was fulfilled and Elizabeth became pregnant. But the story isn’t over – Zechariah’s encounter with God relates to us all! God has spoken a promise over your life as He did to Zechariah about John. Through the holy spirit, God enables us the fulfil this purpose, for it’s God who works within us, and by coming into the presence of God (on an individual level) we can encounter Him in a wonderful way – this is where we gain encouragement, peace, joy, and promise. But most of all? In life, it’s so important that we don’t doubt ourselves; believe in yourself, despite your weaknesses, for it’s God who fulfils, and God who wants you to encounter Him! Don’t be silenced by doubt, but praise God in faith as He does immeasurably more!
How does Zechariah’s encounter inspire you? Share your insight in the comments – I’d love to read them!
Come back next Wednesday for the second in the series!