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The Zechariah Complex

By Cyndy Lavoie, Founder & Executive Director of Capturing Courage,


Scripture Reference : Luke 1:13-18 ESV
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

With this vision, God who had been silent for 400 years effectively broke His silence and ushered in a new era. Yet in the wake of this stunning announcement, Zechariah unfortunately found himself merely preoccupied with the logistics of the plan. He was an old man. His body didn’t work as it once did.

Would he be up for the task?

We find the angel graciously laying out the full plan about this coming babe. Zechariah and Elizabeth would personally find great joy and this joy would extend to many about them. The Holy Spirit would mark this child right from conception and he would have great standing before the Lord. John’s role would be instrumental in ushering in a new era for God’s chosen people and freedom from sin would be the result.

Yet it is as though Zechariah heard none of this.

We can almost hear the self-talk in his head, “But how will I get Elizabeth pregnant. If we were ever going to be pregnant wouldn’t it have been by now…” So preoccupied with earthly realities he exhibited no room in his understanding for the extraordinary, for the miraculous, nor for the import, and the real point of the message. Messiah was close at hand! We get the impression that Zechariah missed most of the angel’s prophecy and promise; he was stuck on his humanity.

My, how easy it is to be in this same place!

But as we all know, Zechariah did come through, he did have what it takes, he did rise to the challenge. For after all, all Zechariah really had to do was show up. It was God’s plan and God’s work. And when it is God’s plan and God’s work He purposes to bring it about. We merely show up, and God does the rest. When we are faithful to do our part, to respond as He invites, to fully engage His visions and plan, risking to see if we have what it takes, our Messiah proves Himself to be very close at hand.

And the rest becomes history.

What do you think?

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