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Luke 1:5-7 – Zechariah and Elizabeth

LK1:5 In the days of Herod,[1] king of Judea, there happened to be a certain priest named Zechariah[2] out of the [priestly] division of Abijah,[3] as well as his wife named Elizabeth[4] from the daughters of Aaron. LK1:6 Now they were both righteous before The God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and righteous requirements of the LORD. LK1:7 Elizabeth had never had any children as she was barren and they were both well along in years.

[1] In the days of Herod: Luke does not begin with something obscure, as “once upon a time in a land far away.” He states the Roman appointed king of Judea, something that could be confirmed. There is considerable information in Josephus on the house of Herod and its various rulers. Though scholars disagree on the time of the death of Herod it is possible he lived until 2-1 BC, about the time of the birth of Jesus.

[2] Zechariah: Meaning “Yah Remembers.”

[3] Division of Abijah: King David divided the priests into 24 divisions. Abijah was the eighth. [1 Chronicles 24:10] Each of the divisions served for one week every six months.

[4] Elizabeth: Meaning “God of Plenty.”



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Zechariah the priest, father of John the Bapti...

Zechariah the priest, father of John the Baptist, with a scroll showing the opening words of the Benedictus; old Russian Orthodox icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:5-25. (
    St. Augustine said: “Empty yourself, so that you may be filled; go out, so that you can go in.” And in another place, he said: “Noble soul, noble creature, why do you seek outside yourself for something which in its most constant, truest and purest form is within you? You share God’s own nature: what business can you have with created things?” If a man would prepare an empty place in the depths of his soul there can be no doubt that God must fill it at once. If there were a void on earth the heaven would fall. God will not allow anything to be void. That would be contrary to his nature and his just ordinance.
  • Advent Series, part II – Zechariah (
    Abijah’s name was listed among other names of priests who served during the reign of King David. This is an amazing heritage for Zechariah. It’s a heritage that he does not take for granted. According to Luke, Zechariah was righteous before God and walked blamelessly according to the statutes and commandments of the Lord (Luke 1:6, ESV). This does not sound like a man slacking off, or treating his priestly role in a lackadaisical manner. He’s committed to serving the Lord.
    It must be said that Zechariah was not precluded from interceding for himself and his family. In fact, the Levitical code required priests to intercede for themselves before performing anything on behalf of the people (Leviticus 9:6-14, ESV). In Luke’s text, Zechariah offered incense in the Lord’s presence, which alluded to intercessory prayer (Luke 1:9 & Rev 5:8c, ESV). Gabriel’s appearance and response confirmed this as he spoke to Zechariah, “your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son” (Luke 1:13, ESV).
  • Daily December Devotional – Day 2 (
    Herod the Great ruled over, among other places, Judea and Galilee from 37-4 B.C. Bethlehem and Jerusalem were both in Judea. Priests during this time were required to keep incense burning on the altar in front of the Most Holy Place in the temple in Jerusalem. To be the one to enter the Most Holy Place and supply fresh incense for the morning and evening sacrifices would have been a distinct privilege and a priest could only be chosen once in his lifetime to fulfill this role. As a priest, Zechariah would have been very familiar with Mosaic law and the prophecies about the coming Messiah.
  • Thursday Third Week Advent 2013 – Zechariah and the Angel and Third O Antiphon (
    Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
  • December 4th: Zechariah and Elizabeth (
    Luke deliberately and carefully structures his gospel to parallel the story of Christ’s birth with that of John’s, compelling us to take a closer look.
    In the Jewish community, it was considered a great disgrace to remain childless and sometimes it was thought to be due to the wife’s sinfulness. This simply wasn’t the case for Zechariah and Elizabeth who we are told were both righteous and blameless before God. They were both quite elderly and had probably given up hope some time ago that they would ever be parents, resigning themselves to enduring the assumptions and whispers of their community. It just seems so appropriate that the birth of Christ, who was to bring newness of life and healing in both his life and death, should be paralleled with God’s grace and restoration of joy to Zechariah and Elizabeth.
  • The Daily Gospel and Readings 19 December 2013 (
    you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
  • Day 1 – Luke 1:5-12 (
    Everyone who had an ancestor who was of the tribe of Levi was a priest; so about 20,000 priests lived in and around Jerusalem, all serving the temple.  Of course they all weren’t there at the same time.  Most of them were farmers.  But 2 weeks out of the year, each priest would serve along with others of their order, to perform sacrifices, assist pilgrims, give blessings, and care for the holy vessels.
  • 19th December, Gospel Reading (Luke 1:5-25) (
    Now it was the turn of Zechariah’s section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God when it fell to him by lot, as the ritual custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there. And at the hour of incense the whole congregation was outside, praying.
  • Words are important (
    It was so important that Zechariah not speak unbelieving words that the angel shut his mouth until he (Zechariah) could speak believing words.  If you notice in verse 12 it says that Zechariah  was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw the Angel.  He would have spoken fear words, when he needed to speak faith words.
  • Thursday, 19 December 2013 : 3rd Week of Advent (Gospel Reading) (
    When his time of service was completed, Zechariah returned home, and some time later Elizabeth became pregnant. For five months she kept to herself, remaining at home, and thinking, “This, for me, is the Lord’s doing! This is His time for mercy, and for taking away my public disgrace.”

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