Once in a lifetime

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily



Ever had a once-in-a-lifetime experience (apart from being born!)? Today we meet a man who did: and who found it was terrifying and more wonderful than he could believe. If so, you've got something in common with most Christians: and with a first century believer called Theophilus.

A couple's pain

Read Luke 1 v 5-7

  • - What are we told about Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth (v 5-6)?
  • - But despite his position and their godliness, what is missing from their lives (v 7)?

A priest's privilege

Read verses 8-10

Zechariah is here chosen to go into the Holy Place in teh temple in Jerusalem; the area of the temple where God dwelled. He'll only do this once in his whole life of serving as a priest. It's a great moment for this old man, the highlight of his career.

God's plan

Read verses 11-17

Zechariah gets more than he could possibly have imagined! When he goes into the Holy Place, an angel, a heavenly messenger, is standing there!

  • - How does Zechariah (understandably) react (v 12)?
  • - What is the angel's message (v 13)?
  • - What do we learn about their son's: 1) effect (v 14, 16)? 2) relationship with God (v 15)? 3) mission (v 17)?

Read verses 18-22

  • - How does Zechariah react to the angel's words (v 18)?
  • - What is the angel's message to him (v 19-20)?

Zechariah would have had plenty of time in the quietness of his head to realize that what God plans, happens: however unlikely or extraordinary it is.

A woman's pleasure

Read verses 23-25

  • - Why should what happens in verse 24 be no surprise to Elizabeth or Zechariah?
  • - How does Elizabeth respond (v 25)?



Luke's Gospel begins with God bringing life to a lifeless place: a living child in a barren womb. And it will end that way too: with a living man in a burial tomb. Turly, God is "the God who gives life to the dead" (Romans 4 v 17).



  • - When God answers a prayer of yours, do you respond as Elizabeth did? Anything you need to praise and thank God for right now?
  • - How does this episode increase your faith in God's prmoises about the future?


This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

Click here and enter the code bstexplore61 when you check out to get the next quarter’s Explore for $5.84, a 10% discount.

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Keep a record of what God is teaching you with "My Bible" at BibleStudyTools.com


Originally published December 18, 2012.

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