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Sermon of Reverend Chris Chantelau
Pastor Chantelau

Which player in life's pageant do want to be Zecha

Advent 1 - Sunday, December 02, 2018
Luke 1:5-25

5In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

8Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10Now at the time of the incense-offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” 19The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”

21Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. 22When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. 23When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25“This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favourably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: ZECHARIAH & ELIZABETH

 

So we begin the New Year and the Holiday Season in the Church by turning to the very beginning of the Gospel of Luke to hear the opening scene of Luke’s Christmas Pageant. 

Next week the more familiar characters of the Christmas pageant will begin to appear,

but this morning we are introduced to two characters that usually don’t make it into the Sunday School Pageants;

Zechariah and Elizabeth. 

 

And what we learn from these two more obscure characters of the Christmas Pageant is a truth that will most likely not come as a surprise to any of us –

it is usually the women who always get it right,

at least in the Bible.  

 

 

ZECHARIAH SHOULD KNOW

 

I mean, look at Zechariah.

 

The guy is in the holiest place in the Temple,

doing his job as priest,

offering incense to God

which is supposed to get God’s attention and encourage God to come and give Zechariah a message that he can bring to the people who are outside praying the Temple courtyard.

 

If an angel of the Lord happens to appear in this moment, and says something, you might expect that Zechariah would listen and believe. 

I mean it is not like Zechariah is sitting at JV Bagel on a Monday morning and he thinks he might see the face of Jesus in his toasted bagel –

which could happen,

but it would really be unexpected.

 

No, Zechariah could not set-up a situation with more expectation that God would speak than the situation he finds himself in.

Yet, when God speaks, Zechariah does not expect it and he doubts that God can accomplish what God has said God will do.

 

 

GOD HAS DONE THIS BEFORE

 

What makes things worse for Zechariah,

and why it is that his mouth is sealed up,

is that God has done this before. 

 

As we heard in that first lesson from Genesis, God did exactly the same thing –

this giving a son to a couple who thought they would never have a son now because they were old –

God did that for Abraham and Sarah. 

 

So, Zechariah,

the priest,

who knows all about the stories in Genesis,

who is very familiar with what happened to Abraham and Sarah,

Zechariah should know that God can do what God has said God will do.  

 

 

ZECHARIAH TRUSTS HIS REASON

 

But Zechariah doesn’t.

He doubts.

Well, he actually just decides to respond logically – typical man.

He decides that his logic is

more reliable,

more trustworthy,

more reasonable than God’s Word.

 

And really, can you blame him?

What sense does it make that an old man and an old woman would have a child?

None, from a certain perspective.

But from the perspective of faith,

From the perspective of knowing what God has done in the past,

And from the perspective of trusting that God has the power to accomplish all that God says he will do,

From that perspective it makes complete sense.

 

 

ELIZABETH TRUSTS GOD

 

That’s Elizabeth’s perspective, I think.

She was not the one got the visit from Gabriel.

She has no special message from God about what is happening.

 

What she gets is

a husband who cannot speak and

the experience of being pregnant in her old age – she is doubly blessed.

 

And when she looks at what she has been given from the perspective of her faith, she knows.

And without all the fanfare that Zechariah had in his Temple experience,

Elizabeth confidently declares,

“This is what the Lord has done when he looked favorably on me”

 

There is no question in her mind that the blessings in her life have come from her Lord,

From her Lord’s love of her.

 

 

WE DECIDE WHICH CHARACTER WE WANT TO BE

 

Now as we begin reading this Gospel, from the very beginning Luke wants us to make a decision for ourselves.

What perspective are we going to take?

Are we going to be like Zechariah and wonder how it will be possible and wonder whether it is really possible for God will bless us as we will hear God promise is happening through Jesus and his Word to us?

 

Or are we going to be more like Elizabeth and, hearing the Gospel from the perspective of faith, from the perspective that trusts what God has done for God’s people before, whether we will also know that God will accomplish all that God promises us through Jesus. 

 

Basically, Luke is asking us whether we are going to

trust our own logic,

our own sense of what we have been taught by other voices to trust is reasonable.

 

Or whether we are going to steep ourselves

in God’s history and

God’s word and

take the perspective that we know and trust exactly where our blessings comes from and who we need to respond in gratitude to.

 

 

It is a good story for us to be hearing this morning as we ponder ourselves how we are going to respond to God’s word and blessings to us.  

            Zechariah or Elizabeth – which character do you want to play in the pageant of your own life?

                       

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: ZECHARIAH & ELIZABETH

 

So we begin the New Year and the Holiday Season in the Church by turning to the very beginning of the Gospel of Luke to hear the opening scene of Luke’s Christmas Pageant. 

Next week the more familiar characters of the Christmas pageant will begin to appear,

but this morning we are introduced to two characters that usually don’t make it into the Sunday School Pageants;

Zechariah and Elizabeth. 

 

And what we learn from these two more obscure characters of the Christmas Pageant is a truth that will most likely not come as a surprise to any of us –

it is usually the women who always get it right,

at least in the Bible.  

 

 

ZECHARIAH SHOULD KNOW

 

I mean, look at Zechariah.

 

The guy is in the holiest place in the Temple,

doing his job as priest,

offering incense to God

which is supposed to get God’s attention and encourage God to come and give Zechariah a message that he can bring to the people who are outside praying the Temple courtyard.

 

If an angel of the Lord happens to appear in this moment, and says something, you might expect that Zechariah would listen and believe. 

I mean it is not like Zechariah is sitting at JV Bagel on a Monday morning and he thinks he might see the face of Jesus in his toasted bagel –

which could happen,

but it would really be unexpected.

 

No, Zechariah could not set-up a situation with more expectation that God would speak than the situation he finds himself in.

Yet, when God speaks, Zechariah does not expect it and he doubts that God can accomplish what God has said God will do.

 

 

GOD HAS DONE THIS BEFORE

 

What makes things worse for Zechariah,

and why it is that his mouth is sealed up,

is that God has done this before. 

 

As we heard in that first lesson from Genesis, God did exactly the same thing –

this giving a son to a couple who thought they would never have a son now because they were old –

God did that for Abraham and Sarah. 

 

So, Zechariah,

the priest,

who knows all about the stories in Genesis,

who is very familiar with what happened to Abraham and Sarah,

Zechariah should know that God can do what God has said God will do.  

 

 

ZECHARIAH TRUSTS HIS REASON

 

But Zechariah doesn’t.

He doubts.

Well, he actually just decides to respond logically – typical man.

He decides that his logic is

more reliable,

more trustworthy,

more reasonable than God’s Word.

 

And really, can you blame him?

What sense does it make that an old man and an old woman would have a child?

None, from a certain perspective.

But from the perspective of faith,

From the perspective of knowing what God has done in the past,

And from the perspective of trusting that God has the power to accomplish all that God says he will do,

From that perspective it makes complete sense.

 

 

ELIZABETH TRUSTS GOD

 

That’s Elizabeth’s perspective, I think.

She was not the one got the visit from Gabriel.

She has no special message from God about what is happening.

 

What she gets is

a husband who cannot speak and

the experience of being pregnant in her old age – she is doubly blessed.

 

And when she looks at what she has been given from the perspective of her faith, she knows.

And without all the fanfare that Zechariah had in his Temple experience,

Elizabeth confidently declares,

“This is what the Lord has done when he looked favorably on me”

 

There is no question in her mind that the blessings in her life have come from her Lord,

From her Lord’s love of her.

 

 

WE DECIDE WHICH CHARACTER WE WANT TO BE

 

Now as we begin reading this Gospel, from the very beginning Luke wants us to make a decision for ourselves.

What perspective are we going to take?

Are we going to be like Zechariah and wonder how it will be possible and wonder whether it is really possible for God will bless us as we will hear God promise is happening through Jesus and his Word to us?

 

Or are we going to be more like Elizabeth and, hearing the Gospel from the perspective of faith, from the perspective that trusts what God has done for God’s people before, whether we will also know that God will accomplish all that God promises us through Jesus. 

 

Basically, Luke is asking us whether we are going to

trust our own logic,

our own sense of what we have been taught by other voices to trust is reasonable.

 

Or whether we are going to steep ourselves

in God’s history and

God’s word and

take the perspective that we know and trust exactly where our blessings comes from and who we need to respond in gratitude to.

 

 

It is a good story for us to be hearing this morning as we ponder ourselves how we are going to respond to God’s word and blessings to us.  

            Zechariah or Elizabeth – which character do you want to play in the pageant of your own life?

                       

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT: ZECHARIAH & ELIZABETH

 

So we begin the New Year and the Holiday Season in the Church by turning to the very beginning of the Gospel of Luke to hear the opening scene of Luke’s Christmas Pageant. 

Next week the more familiar characters of the Christmas pageant will begin to appear,

but this morning we are introduced to two characters that usually don’t make it into the Sunday School Pageants;

Zechariah and Elizabeth. 

 

And what we learn from these two more obscure characters of the Christmas Pageant is a truth that will most likely not come as a surprise to any of us –

it is usually the women who always get it right,

at least in the Bible.  

 

 

ZECHARIAH SHOULD KNOW

 

I mean, look at Zechariah.

 

The guy is in the holiest place in the Temple,

doing his job as priest,

offering incense to God

which is supposed to get God’s attention and encourage God to come and give Zechariah a message that he can bring to the people who are outside praying the Temple courtyard.

 

If an angel of the Lord happens to appear in this moment, and says something, you might expect that Zechariah would listen and believe. 

I mean it is not like Zechariah is sitting at JV Bagel on a Monday morning and he thinks he might see the face of Jesus in his toasted bagel –

which could happen,

but it would really be unexpected.

 

No, Zechariah could not set-up a situation with more expectation that God would speak than the situation he finds himself in.

Yet, when God speaks, Zechariah does not expect it and he doubts that God can accomplish what God has said God will do.

 

 

GOD HAS DONE THIS BEFORE

 

What makes things worse for Zechariah,

and why it is that his mouth is sealed up,

is that God has done this before. 

 

As we heard in that first lesson from Genesis, God did exactly the same thing –

this giving a son to a couple who thought they would never have a son now because they were old –

God did that for Abraham and Sarah. 

 

So, Zechariah,

the priest,

who knows all about the stories in Genesis,

who is very familiar with what happened to Abraham and Sarah,

Zechariah should know that God can do what God has said God will do.  

 

 

ZECHARIAH TRUSTS HIS REASON

 

But Zechariah doesn’t.

He doubts.

Well, he actually just decides to respond logically – typical man.

He decides that his logic is

more reliable,

more trustworthy,

more reasonable than God’s Word.

 

And really, can you blame him?

What sense does it make that an old man and an old woman would have a child?

None, from a certain perspective.

But from the perspective of faith,

From the perspective of knowing what God has done in the past,

And from the perspective of trusting that God has the power to accomplish all that God says he will do,

From that perspective it makes complete sense.

 

 

ELIZABETH TRUSTS GOD

 

That’s Elizabeth’s perspective, I think.

She was not the one got the visit from Gabriel.

She has no special message from God about what is happening.

 

What she gets is

a husband who cannot speak and

the experience of being pregnant in her old age – she is doubly blessed.

 

And when she looks at what she has been given from the perspective of her faith, she knows.

And without all the fanfare that Zechariah had in his Temple experience,

Elizabeth confidently declares,

“This is what the Lord has done when he looked favorably on me”

 

There is no question in her mind that the blessings in her life have come from her Lord,

From her Lord’s love of her.

 

 

WE DECIDE WHICH CHARACTER WE WANT TO BE

 

Now as we begin reading this Gospel, from the very beginning Luke wants us to make a decision for ourselves.

What perspective are we going to take?

Are we going to be like Zechariah and wonder how it will be possible and wonder whether it is really possible for God will bless us as we will hear God promise is happening through Jesus and his Word to us?

 

Or are we going to be more like Elizabeth and, hearing the Gospel from the perspective of faith, from the perspective that trusts what God has done for God’s people before, whether we will also know that God will accomplish all that God promises us through Jesus. 

 

Basically, Luke is asking us whether we are going to

trust our own logic,

our own sense of what we have been taught by other voices to trust is reasonable.

 

Or whether we are going to steep ourselves

in God’s history and

God’s word and

take the perspective that we know and trust exactly where our blessings comes from and who we need to respond in gratitude to.

 

 

It is a good story for us to be hearing this morning as we ponder ourselves how we are going to respond to God’s word and blessings to us.  

            Zechariah or Elizabeth – which character do you want to play in the pageant of your own life?