This Sunday Rupert Ward will be speaking, from the story of Zechariah (the Father of John the Baptist) and Mary (the mother of Jesus). You might like to read the whole of Luke chapter 1. especially focusing on the response of Zechariah and Mary to the news they receive. Both ask questions of the messenger sent to them, but the outcome is different. Why do you think that is?
At the end of the chapter, Zechariah has a different response, which you can read in vs. 67-80 – a song of praise and prophecy about the child he is holding in his hands. You might like to read this passage, and reflect on what has changed in Zechariah.
67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn[c] of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.