Zechariah: Father of John the Baptist


Zechariah was told before anyone else that God was setting in motion his own visit to earth. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, were known for their personal holiness. They were well suited to doing a special work for God. But they shared the pain of not having children, and in Jewish culture, this was considered not having God’s blessing. Zechariah and Elizabeth were old, and they had stopped even asking for children.

This trip to the temple in Jerusalem for Zechariah’s turn at duty had included an unexpected blessing. Zechariah was chosen to be the priest who would enter the Holy Place to offer incense to God for the people. Suddenly, much to his surprise and terror, he found himself face to face with an angel. The angel’s message was too good to be true! Zechariah did not respond to the news of the coming Savior as much as he expressed doubts about his own ability to father the child the angel promised him. His age spoke more loudly than God’s promise. As a result, God prevented Zechariah from speaking until the promise became reality.

The record of prayer in Luke 1 is our last glimpse of Zechariah. Like so many of God’s most faithful servants, he passed quietly from the scene once his part was done. He becomes our hero for those times when we doubt God and yet are willing to obey. We gain hope from Zechariah’s story that God can do great things through anyone who is available to him.

Strengths and Accomplishments

  • Known as a righteous man
  • Was a priest before God
  • One of the few people to be directly addressed by an angel
  • Fathered John the Baptist

Weakness and Mistake

  • Momentarily doubted the angel’s promise of a son because of his own old age

Lessons From His Life

  • Physical limitations do not limit God
  • God accomplishes his will, sometimes in unexpected ways

Vital Statistics for Zechariah

Key Verses for Zechariah

“Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years” (Luke 1:6, 7)

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Zechariah’s story is told in Luke 1

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