In our text, we see a couple – Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth – who came from the priestly lineage of their forefather Aaron. They were righteous, they walked in God’s commands and ordinances, and they were blameless ... but they were barren. They had no children, but even with the prospect of children quickly fading, they never stopped serving the Lord, and they had never stopped praying for their miracle.
Someone once told me that when it comes to our children, more things are caught than taught, meaning that we can teach all the right things, read our Bibles, pray with our children, and take them to church, but in the end the way we live our lives in front of our children will have a much more profound impact on them than all the words we speak or the lessons we teach.
Mothers must never give up or surrender to the world. The enemy roams around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, but greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Keep praying, keep believing, and keep fighting for the life of your sons and daughters. Even if you are not a biological mother, you are a mother of the church, and the children in this church need your godly influence and your persistent prayers.
In verse 28, “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Sin changed the dynamic between males and females, but the subjugation of women to men was not God’s original design. He made us as two halves of one whole, which was designed to glorify Him.
This is where frightful Friday and silent Saturday ended, but this is also where Sunday began. What looked like the end, was just the beginning. What looked like defeat, was a victory in the making. What looked like shattered dreams and broken promises, was just an illusion because the reality was that with both hands and feet nailed to a cross, Jesus defeated the devil, He conquered sin, liberated the lost, and set the captives free.
In a generation when the world seems to be going insane and it feels like the bedrock of morality is crumbling beneath our feet, I’m here to tell you that God has a plan. And because He has a plan we can stand with our feet on a firm foundation because we are part of His plan. He has a plan for His church, He has a plan for our lives, and He is planning to come again so that where He is there we may be also. And like the people praising Jesus two thousand years ago, we should also be praising God that our Redeemer is the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
In verse 40, when Jesus was still very young, Luke said, “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” Then in the last verse of our text, verse 52, Luke wrote, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” These two statements essentially say that Jesus matured physically, spiritually, and intellectually, and sandwiched between verses 40 and 52 is the account of Jesus in the temple at the age of 12.
If we pay attention to what God is doing in our lives, I believe we will discover that God prepares us for what is coming before are even aware it is coming. Often, it is only when we look back that we see and understand that God is always two steps ahead of any problem or challenge that the enemy tried to put in our path.
I remember watching old science fiction shows where the aliens arrive on planet earth and the first thing they said when they encountered any lifeform was, “Take me to your leader.” When the magi arrived in Jerusalem, they were indeed looking for their leader, only they did not go to Herod. Instead, they were looking for one whose star they saw rising in the east. They were looking for the real King of Israel.
How do we sustain our commitment to looking up for our Redeemer in times like these? We do it the same way Simeon did it. He kept believing because he had a promise from the Holy Spirit, so he faithfully came to the temple believing that this could be the day. Day after day, week after week, year after year passed, but still, Simeon came believing and expecting. And then on this day, Luke said Simeon “came by the Spirit into the temple.” We need to be sensitive to the Spirit because when the Spirit is prompting us to go, to worship, and to believe, we need to get up and go. After all, this could be the day we get our breakthrough!