Now while Zechariah was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the holy place of the Lord and burn incense. (Luke 1:8, 9 NET)
Now it was because of a man’s rules that a priest would be chosen by lot to do this. And it was part of the Mishna structure that a man would only do this once in his lifetime. SO Zechariah could have had a baby sooner if it hadn’t been for this complicated once-in-a-carreer setup. BUT the timing of John the Baptist’s birth perfectly coincided with the birth of Jesus, which had to happen at just the right time, so God used it all.
This takes me back to something I whisper sometimes but I’m not sure we (by we I mean me!) are ready to fully grasp it. Maybe God is a lot more sovereign and in control of things than we’d like to realize!
And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.” (Luke 1:17 NET)
Look at how much God is going to humble Himself! John is going to go as a forerunner ahead of Him! God needs somebody to show up ahead of Him to get people ready! Can’t God just show up and do it all Himself? Nope. He’s weak. He’s gonna be a man that has to talk and walk around just like every other man. He’s not going to work magic on people to convince them or hypnotize them into belief. He is counting on them being sensitive to pay attention and believe, and so He needs John to go ahead of them to soften them up. Wow.
“This is what the Lord has done for me at the time when he has been gracious to me, to take away my disgrace among people.” (Luke 1:25 NET)
I don’t think it’s any mistake that Elizabeth sees this as an event of removing disgrace. It’s not about motherhood, which is awesome. It’s not about God hearing and answering our prayers, which is awesome. Of all the things that could be on your radar when you read about this, God just plopped the phrase “take away my disgrace among people” into the account of the birth of Christ.