Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear a son, and thou shalt call him, John. (KJV)
Sometimes I wish I had an angel show up and tell me “don’t be afraid!” But somehow I am sure this has happened countless times when I was fearful and an arm went around me to comfort and encourage. We do “entertain angels unaware” after all. (Hebrews 13:2)
Zacharias is sonless. Elizabeth has never held her own baby. They have had fertility issues. A curse in Jewish or Southern society, you must have a son to carry on the family name. To say they have prayed for an heir is an understatement. More applicable words would be pleaded, cried, grieved, wrestled, bargained………….
This heavenly messenger comes bearing the words, “don’t be afraid your prayers have been heard,” i.e., have no doubt God has heard from heaven and His timing is perfect. Now if you were old would you think God’s timing was perfect if you found out your over-the-hill body was pregnant? I thought so. The angel goes on to say this child has a special purpose, and He is getting the name God the Father wants him to have from the start. He is to be groomed from birth for his special role.
Unwrap this Christmas package slowly and determinedly. Our Heavenly Father wants this message buried deep in our hearts and minds–DO NOT FEAR—I. HEAR. YOUR. PRAYERS. AND I WILL ACT ON YOUR BEHALF! This fear not may just be the weapon we need to slay the dragon of doubt that blocks the hand of God in our lives. Just like when you unwrap a package at Christmas with your family, look up. Do you see the “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrew 12:1) standing, cheering us on when we exercise our faith and trust God to hear our prayers and answer? I believe I can hear their applause and sense their anticipation of all that is to come.
This baby boy, John, will be the one to announce Messiah has come and introduce Him to the world. John was an odd fellow. Loud, crass, eccentric, a wee bit weird. But the words he spoke resonated with the Jews because they were desperate for Messiah to come. Are you desperate for Him to come? Prepare ye the way!