Last December, I preached a 3-part series of sermons – Do You Believe in Miracles?  The goal was to open us up to having faith in nothing being too hard for God to do.  After all, scripture says, “For with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).”  Jesus reiterated this same statement when He was asked who could be saved if not someone rich (Matt. 19:26).  There is nothing that is too hard or too impossible for our God (Jer. 32:27).

Again, my hope, as a both a preacher and as a believer in God, is that all of us who genuinely believe in the Lord will have the utmost faith in what God can do for us.  Yet, many of us – if not, most of us – are a lot like the man I want to take a close look at in today’s sermon.  Today, I want to introduce the man named Zacharias (not to be confused with the prophet, Zechariah).

Meet Zacharias

In the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, we read the announcing of the birth of both Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.  Both announcements were made by the angel, Gabriel (Luke 1:19, 26-27).  We are introduced to Zacharias early on in this chapter.  First, we are told that Zacharias is a priest (Luke 1:5).  Secondly, we are told that both he and his wife, Elizabeth, were righteous before God.  Scripture tells us that they walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luke 1:6).

I feel that this is very important information for us to know about both Zacharias and Elizabeth.  We should see them as being representative of both me and you as faithful believers.  I always try to make a distinctive difference between those of religion and those of genuine faith.  

Some people practice Christianity out of religion.  What I mean by this is that they show up to church every Sunday to meet what they believe is their religious requirement.  For the practitioners of religion, there is not necessarily a need or a want to go and worship.  In other words, there is no genuineness in the “faith” of the practitioners of religion.

However, for others, our faith in God, His only begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit is genuine.  There is a desire to follow after God and be obedient to His way as best as we can.  We do not show up to worship because we feel it meets a religious requirement, but because we want to and feel the need to praise God!  You see, this is the sphere of belief that Zacharias and Elizabeth fitted under.  This is a distinction I feel it is important for us, those of genuine faith, to understand and share with others.  

The Doubt of Zacharias

However, with all of this said, even the most faithful believer, has a moment in which they doubt in God being able to do the impossible.  Some one may shake their head and say that they don’t do such a thing; trust me, I understand feeling that way.  Yet, I tell you that this does happen and I want to show you how Zacharias did that today and how it hurts us.

In this same chapter, we see Zacharias faithfully performing his duties as a priest (Luke 1:8).  I imagine when he woke up that morning, he probably thought the day would be just another day.  He went to the temple and on this day, his lot fell on having to burn incense in the temple during the hour of incense (Luke 1:9).  (It seems like most of our most remarkable days start off this way, doesn’t it)?

Message of a miracle

As he was in the temple burning incense during that hour, something interesting happened during this plain ol’ regular day.  Scripture shows us that during that hour, Zacharias was visited by Gabriel (Luke 1:11).  There was a message that Gabriel was sent to deliver to Zacharias – a message from God.  (So, not such a plain ol’ day anymore, right)?

Gabriel tells Zacharias that his prayers had been heard, but most importantly, we see that Zacharias’ prayers had also been answered (Luke 1:13).  What had a Zacharias been praying for?  A child.  You see, Zacharias and Elizabeth were going through what Abraham and Sarah were going through – Elizabeth was considered barren and was unable to conceive a child.  So, like the faithful people they were, Zacharias and Elizabeth had been praying hard for God to do the impossible and give them a child.  Have you ever been prayerful for a miracle?  (I certainly hope so.)

So, imagine this:  you’re a person of faith and have been in desperate need of a miracle.  You go to the Lord in prayer, as we all should do, and pray to God for Him to deliver you a miracle.  It’s possible that you have spent years praying for this miracle like Zacharias and Elizabeth.  Then, out of the blue, God sends to you an angel that tells you that He has heard your prayer for a miracle and is going to give you what you prayed for!  How would you respond?

Zacharias questions

Now, many of us will quickly say that we would rejoice with great happiness.  Some would say that they would scream and shout!  Nobody would say that they would not believe the angel.  Just know, I believe that most of us would probably respond with a similar response as Zacharias.

After hearing the message that Gabriel had delivered to him, Zacharias could not fathom how any of it was possible.  He was left asking the question, “How will I know this (Luke 1:18)?”  Zacharias began to think with his worldly mind!  He began to wonder how it was possible that his wife who had been completely barren could do what he believed was impossible.  Understand:  in his worldly mind, he was giving the impossible more power than he was giving to God!

Let me make this make sense to you.  We believe that all things are possible to God, right?  I tell you that Zacharias was a man of faith but he had been let down and so greatly disappointed so much, that he figured it was not in the cards for him and Elizabeth to be parents.  What I am saying is that he genuinely believed that it was not meant for him and Elizabeth to be parents!  He began to reason more worldly than he reasoned spiritually.

How many of you have ever reasoned this way?  How many of us have been disappointed and let down so much that we begin to believe something is not meant to be?  We begin to reason more with our worldly mind than we begin to reason spiritually.  Then, when we begin to reason that way, we will throw up our prayers for a miracle but the prayer is filled with little to no faith in God delivering the miracle.  It seems to me that Zacharias did not truly believe in what he was praying for.

Made dumb

20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

key verse – luke 1:20 NKJV

Zacharias, while a man of faith, had seemingly doubted that God could do the impossible.  Because of this lack of faith, Gabriel says to Zacharias, “behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time (Luke 1:20).”  This translation substitutes the word mute for “dumb”.  We read later on in this chapter that Zacharias was made both deaf and mute as friends had to sign to him in order to communicate (Luke 1:62).

We may think to ourselves, that’s rather harsh.  However, let us note (Luke 1:19):  Gabriel said that he stood in the presence of God and was sent to Zacharias to share those good tidings from the Lord.  Understand:  none of what Gabriel said was his word; it was all God’s words.  Zacharias was doubting the word of God and for this, the Lord made him dumb.  God is not a fan of us doubting in His power!

Keep Silent and Trust God

So, Zacharias was put in a position of where he would have to keep silent and trust God.  There was no room for Zacharias to question God doing the impossible!  There was no room for Zacharias to be asking how when God was going to do what He said He was going to do!  The same could be said for all of us as well – there is no room for your doubt in what God is going to do for you!

Do you believe that God is a God of the impossible or not?  If your answer to that question is yes, then maybe it’s time for you to stop asking God “How?”.  Sometimes, it is best we shut up and trust the work that God is doing on our behalf.  What I have come to learn while on this journey is that we miss out on many blessings because we psych ourselves out with our doubt.  So many of us have gotten so caught up in our own heads that we end up blinding ourselves from a miracle.  God will show us that He is going to give us the miracle that we have prayed hard for and then we convince ourselves it’s not going to happen. 

We must stop talking ourselves into believing that God is not a God of the impossible.  God gave to Zacharias and Elizabeth, John the Baptist.  God will do the impossible for you in similar fashion.  Sometimes we miss out on a blessing because we lacked faith in what God could do.  Always be ready for your blessing!  Again, I say, always be prepared for God to do the impossible for you.  Keep silent and trust in God.

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