Who do we remember? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Think back to famous first-century families you know of!
Okay. The first one many readers of this blog will think of is the holy family, Jesus and his Earthly parents along with his brothers and sisters. After that, you could think of the Herods perhaps, no doubt one of the most dysfunctional families ever. You could think of families in the disciples, though even then we really don’t know about those families. You might think of the Caesars.
Really, there aren’t too many that stand out. However, every family would want to be remembered. Every family would want their honor to continue throughout the ages.
Recently, I read something in one of the church fathers, and it was about Zechariah and Elizabeth and this thought just struck me then. That’s one of the other families we can think of if we know our Bibles. These were the parents of John the Baptist, after all.
Yet it wasn’t always like that.
These were seen as good people, but they had a strike against them. They were childless. Imagine how many times they might have tried to have a child, and yet as they grew older and older, this hope abandoned them. Not only that, but this was a priestly family. If Zechariah was faithfully serving, why was he being withheld one of the great blessings?
Did Zechariah ever see his fellow priests with their own children and wonder? Did he ever see their children with their own children later on and ask why he was childless? What was it like to see the years fade away and know that this wasn’t going to happen and his family line would die with him?
What of Elizabeth? Did she long to be a mother all her life? Little girls today grow up dreaming of being mothers. Was it the same for her? Did she get a blessing at her wedding like Ruth and Boaz did about having numerous children only to grow old with a man she loved, but yet knowing there was a time in her life when she just wouldn’t have a kid anymore?
Those of us who know the Bible story know differently.
Through a miracle of God, they who had been shamed did have a kid, a kid who was so important he is a major figure in the New Testament and was even mentioned by Josephus. This was none other than John the Baptist. While there’s no indication he ever had any kids let alone a wife, he does live on in the history to this day and we know about Zechariah and Elizabeth to this day.
The only priests we know about from that time are the ones that were famous, such as Caiaphas and ones like him. All the families that Zechariah and Elizabeth saw who had kids to ensure their names would not be forgotten were, well, forgotten.
This is something I keep in mind. God can change things even when there is hopelessness. It’s been easy to look around and wonder why God hasn’t given XYZ yet, but that does not mean never and while it’s true Zechariah and Elizabeth’s line ended with John the Baptist, their memory didn’t.
Part of the problem of evil does this today sadly. It looks at circumstances today and says the story is over. It isn’t. The game is still afoot and God can change situations tremendously.
Just something to give you some hope.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)