At the Temple:
Many years ago before Jesus was born, Herod was king over Judea in Israel.
At that time, there was a priest named Zacharias and his wife
Elizabeth, but they did not have any children and now were getting very
old! However, both of them were loved by God, because they obeyed
Him and faithfully kept all God's commandments.
One day it was Zacharias's turn to be on duty at the temple and he went
inside to burn incense (that's a sweet smelling powder that was burnt to
make the temple smell nice). As he was busy, an angel of the Lord
appeared and this startled him and he became very frightened.
How would you feel and what would you do if an angel suddenly walked into
the room? (Let the children respond).
The Angel's Visit:
The angel said to him, "Don't be afraid, Zacharias, your prayer has been
heard, and your wife Elizabeth will have a son. You are to give
him the name John. And he will be a joy to you and will be filled
with the Holy Spirit from His birth, and will bring many of the people of
Israel back to serve the Lord their God."
Zacharias asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this, since I'm an old
man and my wife getting old?" The angel answered, "I am Gabriel and
I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to tell you this
good news. But, because you did not believe my words, you will not
able to speak until the day this happens!
Lost His Voice!
Meanwhile, the people outside the temple were waiting for Zacharias and
wondering why he stayed inside so long. When he finally came out,
they realised that he had seen a something wonderful because he kept
making signs to them but was unable to speak to them.
Wow! Imagine not being able to say one word for nine long months!
Zacharias had to wait all this time until he was able to talk
again. What a terrible time it was as he pointed at things and
waved his arms about trying to make people understand what he wanted!
I need Food!
I want you to close your mouths and without speaking a word, try and tell
the boy or girl next to you that you need a glass of water and some
food! (Let the children respond
). That was hard wasn't it?
In those days they didn't have a sign language and so Zacharias must have
got angry and stamped his feet many times! But, at last his time of
duty at the temple was finished and he was able to return home.
The Baby is Born:
It was time! Zacharias paced up and down outside the door.
Suddenly he heard a baby's cry and rushed inside to see the son that his
wife Elizabeth had given birth to. Just as the angel had promised!
Their neighbours and relatives came excitedly into Zacharias' home to
have a party and celebrate the birth of the baby. They were going
to name the baby after his father Zacharias, but Elizabeth said, "No, he
has to be called John!"
The people started arguing and said, "But there is no one among your
relatives who has that name." They then made signs to his father
to find out what he would like to name the child. He threw up his
hands and grabbed a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he
wrote, "His name is John."
He can Talk!
Immediately Zacharias could speak again! He began praising God and
all the neighbours were amazed, so they spread this story throughout the
the hill country of Judea. Everyone who heard this wondered what
the child was going to grow up and become.
In the meantime, Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and said, "And
you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will
go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him (Jesus), and to teach His
people how to be saved through the forgiveness of their sins."
And the child grew and the God was with him. He lived in the desert
and ate locusts and wild honey. Would you like to eat locusts,
even if they were sweetened with honey? (Let the children respond).
But, God was preparing him and the day came when he started preaching to
Israel as John the Baptist and prepared the way for Jesus to come.
Boys and girls, it's wise to listen to what God says. And that is
why we teach you every week in Sunday School. God always keeps His
Word and never lies. Zacharias refused to believe God and lost his
voice because of his unbelief.
God doesn't want you to be like Zacharias, and He won't make you lose your
voice! But, He does want you to listen and obey what He tells us
to do in the Bible. God wants you to trust Him and He will keep the
many promises He has made to us in the Bible. Just like God kept
His promise to Zacharias and gave him a son.