Zacharias and Elizabeth Biography

When they were young newlyweds, Zacharias and Elizabeth dreamed of a home filled with the sounds of children.  But the years passed and Elizabeth did not conceive.  Finally the couple came to the deadening realization that it would always just be the two of them.  As the decades rolled, they went about their daily duties—they became known as a wonderfully devout old couple—but whenever they saw children playing, for a moment the light died in their eyes and they turned sadly away.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

Zechariah and Elizabeth

Zacharias was of a priestly family and that involved spiritual duties.  One year his name was chosen to enter the Holy of Holies, to minister at the altar of incense, and to make morning and evening intercession for the people.  Only once in a priest’s lifetime was this awesome responsibility assigned.

Clothed in immaculate robes, with his head covered and his shoes removed, Zacharias disappeared within the golden doors of the Holy Place.  It was there that an angel appeared promising him, of all things, a son who was to be named John!  Stupefied by the sheer unlikelihood of bearing a child in old age, Zacharias asked for a sign.  The angel replied that because Zacharias did not believe, he would be struck speechless until the birth of the son.

What the angel declared came to pass.  Elizabeth became pregnant.  Doubtless to avoid countless pairs of curious, prying eyes Elizabeth stayed at home throughout her pregnancy.  The three month visit of her cousin, Mary, must have been wonderfully welcome to the isolated woman, bursting with motherly anticipation and excited plans.

God could have more easily ushered in John the Baptist through a young, fertile couple who already had a few healthy, happy children.  Instead, to show His unlimited grace and power, God sent

Zechariah and Elizabeth with John the Baptist

Zechariah and Elizabeth with John the Baptist

this great harbinger of our Lord through a God-fearing couple who had long since passed the age of childbearing.

At John’s birth Elizabeth was asked if she would name him after his father.  Instead she said, “His name will be John.” The name John [Johanan] had gained some popularity among Jews in Judea and Galilee by the time the area became a province of the Roman Empire in 6 A.D.  The name meant “the grace of Yahweh.” Perhaps incredulous that Zacharias had not named the boy after himself, the people went to him. He still had not regained his speech, and when asked the same question, the old man asked for a writing table and wrote, “His name is John.”  Immediately Zacharias was able to speak and he began praising God for His limitless grace.

And “the Grace of Yahweh” grew and waxed strong in spirit and dwelt in the deserts till the day of his appearance before Israel.

What can we learn from Zacharias and Elizabeth?

We worship the same God Zacharias and Elizabeth worshiped.  Yet sometimes we actually imply to God, either directly or indirectly, that we don’t believe He can act in supernatural ways.  We should never underestimate God’s ability to do anything He wills.  His grace and power have no limits.

Bible Verses about Zacharias and Elizabeth

Luke 1:5-79

What questions does this help to answer?

  • Who was Zacharias and Elizabeth in the Bible?
  • Who was John the Baptist’s parents?
  • Who had children late in the Bible?
  • Does God answer prayer?
  • How long does it take for God to answer prayer?

 

 

Author Info

Steve Fortosis served for six years as youth minister in several parishes.  Meanwhile he was also working toward his masters, then his doctorate in religious education.  Through the years he has enjoyed teaching on the college and seminary levels and writing professionally.  He has published a number of books including story and prayer compilations, missionary biography, Biblical character biography, devotional lit, children’s lit, and even stories of Bible translation. Presently he resides in Florida with his wife, Debra, where he teaches part-time and writes on a free-lance basis.

Steve Fortosis