“Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.”
Luke 1:21-22 NIV
“They realized he had seen a vision in the temple.” Zechariah went to temple business as usual. I am pretty sure when he entered the Holy Place he did not say, “I bet I see an angel today.” I really do not know what Zechariah was expecting as he stepped behind the curtain. I do know he had prepared for a holy moment. Being chosen, having the lot fall to you, was an expotential chance of that happening for you. The historian Josephus tells us after the return from captivity there were 4 divisions of priessts that served in the temple and during that first century around 500 priests served in each division. Do the math. According to my recollection of college statistics, this was a once in a lifetime event for this aged priest. Zachariah recognized the uniqueness of being chosen. He knew it was a Divine Appointment. He had been trained in the Holiness of going behind the veil into the Holy Place. This was a task you did not take lightly. It was an honor to serve the Lord in this mannner. His was a solemn task done with reverence to the most High God.
“As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.”
Luke 1:9-10 NLT
The morning of the Holy Event, Zechariah would have doned his blue priestly tunic. Elizabeth would have made sure it would have been wrinkle free. He would have approached the curtain with reverence. A great crowd was there. He would have heard the murmerings of many prayers going up. He was expecting the Divine. He was expecting a Holy Moment. He wasn’t expecting Gabriel. But he exited changed and changed for the better. He entered with hearing and speech; he exited in silence. He exited with a disability, but the disability was a blessing.
The people recognized he had been changed.
Today is Saturday. Tomorrow is Sunday. Kevin and I will head to Foundations Church at 10:30. Do I go with expectations of having a Holy Moment? I should. My time at church is a Divine Appointment set up by God. Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this place. We are two or more gathered in His name. He has promised where two or more are gathered in His name there he is with us. I should go to church prepared to have an encounter with the Great I Am. And when I exit, can people tell I have been changed? Can they see it in my countenance? They should. And they do when I am fully engaged in worship and the message I receive from my Pastor. That is what hearing the Word of God spoken to me does. It changes us for the better. Zechariah came out a changed man. He had an encounter with the Lord at the temple in the Holy Place. He was totally engaged in his service to the Lord and the Lord met him there.
Tomorrow as we head to church, we should give a thought or two about ole Zechariah. Go expecting for the Presence of the Lord to show up. Engage in worship. Listen and take to heart the word you hear. And then we will all be changed for the better because Surely the Presence of the Lord was in our service.