You are welcome to use this Bible study as a sermon helper. Scroll down to get your free printable version. Please be sure to leave a comment so we know you were here.
Zacharias was a priest during King Herod’s reign who was married to Elisabeth who was barren and (could not have children). After a visit from an angel named Gabriel Zacharias was informed that his wife would have a son and that they should name him John. Zacharias doubted the angel because he and his wife were very old, and was struck dumb (could not talk) until the child was born. During her pregnancy Elisabeth had an amazing visit from Mary who was also visited by the same angel and was informed that the “holy thing” inside her was the son of God and his name should be Jesus. Mary agreed to do the thing and is considered blessed to this day by all nations.
Greetings to Theophilus
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Luke 1:1
Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; Luke 1:2
It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, Luke 1:3
That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. Luke 1:4
A priest named Zacharias
Zacharias was a priest during King Herod’s reign over Judaea who was married to Elisabeth one of the daughters of Aaron (Moses brother).
On the right side of the alter an angel appeared to Zacharias! Can you just imagine how stunned he must have been! He was terrified!
The angel proceeded to tell Zacharias about his unborn son. He told him they would have joy and gladness and that many people would be very happy when John was born. He also fortold the future of John stating that he would not drink wine or strong drink, that he would be filled with the Holy Ghost from the time of conception, would bring many people to the Lord, and would be a very great man who would be filled with the spirit and power of Elias, make fathers love their children, make disobedient people wise, and most importantly he would prepare the way for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Zacharias must have been astounded with disbelief, as he began to question the angel, asking him how he would know this was true and pointing out that he and his wife are very old.
There were people waiting for Zacharias and were surprised that he had stayed in the temple so long, but they were probably even more surprised when he could not speak after he came out of the temple. They realized that Zacharias must have had a vision. After Zacharias completed his priestly duties and days of ministration he went home to his wife Elisabeth but still could not speak.
Shortly afterward Elisabeth became aware that she had conceived and become pregnant so she hid herself for five months. She was happy because the Lord had taken away her reproach among men (being barren) and had given her a child.
During the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Galilee, to a town named Nazareth and there he spoke to a virgin named Mary who was engaged to a man named Joseph who was from the house of David.
Gabriel the angel told Mary that she was a favorite of the Lords and that she was blessed among all women. You can imagine how honored, shocked, and afraid that Mary must have been, so much so that she wondered to herself about what was happening.
Gabriel the angel sensed Mary’s fear and told her not to be afraid because she had found favor with God and would bear a child, a son, and that she should call his name Jesus.
Mary questioned the angel Gabriel and asked him how this could be possible since she had never been with a man.
Mary was so excited that she got ready right away and went to the home of Zacharias to greet Elisabeth. When Mary made her salutations to Elisabeth the child in Elisabeth’s womb (John) leapt and immediately she was filled with the Holy Ghost. Elisabeth spoke loudly to Mary and told her that she is blessed among women and that Mary’s unborn child was also blessed. Then Elisabeth asked Mary why she the mother of the Lord would visit her? Elisabeth also told Mary about her child leaping in her womb as soon as she heard Mary’s salutation, and Elisabeth somehow knew, (surely this came from the Holy Ghost) about Mary’s child and that it would happen because Mary believed Gabriel the angel.
Mary stayed with Elisabeth about three months and then returned to her own home. A few months after Mary left Elisabeth’s full time had come to have her baby. Elisabeths neighbors and cousins were very happy that she was able to have a baby.
On the eighth day after Elisabeth’s child was born it was time to circumcise the child (remove the foreskin from the penis) and they named the baby Zacharias during this ritual, as was the custom of those days to name the child after his father but Elisabeth told them the childs name would be John. The tried to reason with Elisabeth by explaining that nobody in her family was called by the name John and because Zacharias could not speak they made signs to him asking what he preferred to name the child.
Zacharias asked for a writing table and wrote on it, “His name is John” and everyone marvelled that he agreed with Elisabeth on the childs name. As soon as Zacharias wrote this his mouth was opened, his tongue loosed and he was now able to speak out loud again. The first thing he did was to start praising God. Everyone who lived near him became afraid and told everyone, the word spread throughout Judaea as everyone wondered what manner of child this one would be.
Zacharias was then filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesied telling everyone that the Lord God of Israel is blessed because He visited and redeemed his people, raising up the horn of salvation for the house of David to fulfil prophecies told by prophets since the world began that the Lord’s people would receive mercy, be saved from people who hated them, from enemies, and that the Lord kept His promise to Abraham. Note that both Elisabeth and Zacharias when they were filled with the Holy Ghost both spoke of the Lord’s promise to Abraham and his mercy.
He then spoke to his child, John telling him that he would be the prophet of the Highest and would prepare the way for Jesus so that the people would have knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins.
John grew and was strong in spirit, spent most of his time in the deserts until it was time to show Israel the path to Jesus.