Luke is one of my favorite authors in the New Testament. Luke was not only a doctor but a medical missionary and was a close companion of the Apostle Paul. Luke was not a disciple but was born a gentile and was converted by the Apostles to Christianity and had come under the guidance of Paul. Luke was also a historian and researched and wrote the accounts from interviews with the Apostles and others who knew Christ Jesus.
We find in Luke 1:5-12, the great announcement by the angel Gabriel that Elizabeth would bear a son whose name would be John. Of all the gospel writers, Luke is the only one who gives an accounting of the impending birth of John the Baptist.
“5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.”
In this article, we are going to focus on verses 8-12. In verses 8-9, Zechariah (Zecharias in Greek) was serving as a priest. Zechariah was one of eighteen thousand priests. Of all those priests, fourteen of the eighteen thousand were given the privilege of offering incense on the altar for one year. According to RC Sproul, “Only once could a priest have the opportunity to offer prayers of intercession for the people by means of the offering on incense, which was to represent the prayers of God’s people, a sweet aroma to God.”
In verse 10 as the whole multitude of people were praying outside at the hour on incense. In verses 11 and 12, an angel of the Lord appeared at the altar and was standing to the right side of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled when he saw him and fear fell upon him. Can you imagine the fear that fell upon Zechariah? An angel of the Lord was fitted with armor and was ready to fight and do the work of God.
Were you aware that angels are mentioned more times in the New Testament than the word love and more than the word sin? Angels are an integral part of Scripture. This angel was Gabriel and he came to give an amazing message to Zechariah that would change his and Elizabeth’s lives forever.
At no time do we read about so many angels than regarding the Lord’s incarnation and entrance into the world. God was announcing the coming birth of John the Baptist by the angel, Gabriel. According to JC Ryle, “The meaning of this circumstance is sufficiently clear. It was meant to teach the Church that Messiah was no angel, but the Lord of angels, as well as men.”
Ryle wrote, “One thing about angels we must never forget. They take a deep interest in the work of Christ and the salvation that Christ has provided. They sang high praise when the Son of God came down to make peace by His own blood between God and man. They rejoice when sinners repent. They delight to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation.”
Ryle writes, “The appearance of Gabriel to Zechariah produced a marked effect. Zechariah was afraid and he trembled. The fear came from our inward sense of weakness, guilt and corruption. If angels are so great and terrible, what must the Lord of angels be?”
We must pray to God and thank Him that we have a mighty Mediator whose name is Jesus. As we believe in Him, we will draw closer to God, and boldly live out our lives for the Gospel of Christ Jesus. We will look forward to the day of Judgement and hear the words, “Well done thy good and faithful servant!” In contrast, as for the wicked, I tremble to think of the Judgement Day when the wicked are lost without a Savior and will face the judgement of Hell eternal at the last day.
If you do not know Jesus as your personal savior, why not ask Him into your life? Pray this simple prayer:
Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name! Amen!
If you have prayed that prayer, please write me and tell me that you did. You can write us at Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc., PO Box 1778, Ashland, VA 23005. I would like to send you a Bible so that you can develop your relationship with the Lord. The best way to grow in Christianity is to read the Bible and get involved in a local church.
Photo Credit: Public Domain
 RC Sproul, Luke: An Expositional Commentary (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2020), 7.
 JC Ryle, Daily Readings: From All Four Gospels for Morning and Evening (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2020), January 2 Morning.
 Ryle, Daily Readings, January 2.
 Ryle, Daily Readings, January 2.
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