Read: Luke 1:5-7
But they had no child. (v. 7)
I once heard a biblical scholar compare the Bible to a piano keyboard. But in the case of the Bible, you can never press down just one key to sound just one note. Instead, when you play the keys on the Bible’s keyboard, you can hear beautiful corresponding chords with other parts of the Bible.
Luke’s mention that Zechariah and Elizabeth did not have children is one such key. When we read verse 7, we should also hear the notes of frustration of Jacob’s wife Rachel, the pain of Samuel’s mother Hannah, the hope of Samson’s parents, and many other notes of ache and longing. Whenever we read that someone is unable to bear children, it is part of a theological score woven through Scripture. But in this music, there is another motif to pay attention to: a miracle child is coming soon. In Psalm 113, there is a litany of reasons to praise Israel’s God and it ends on this note: “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!” (Ps. 113:9).
The miracle child in this case is John the Baptist. God’s gift to Zechariah and Elizabeth is yet another indication that in preparing for the advent of God’s Son, God’s Spirit was busy in many places and in the lives of many people. God was gracious in preparing the way for salvation. This easy-to-miss note of sorrow and hope forms chords throughout Scripture to remind us that God is always on the move! —Scott Hoezee
As you pray, thank God for working in so many places and people.
About the Author
Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.