Zacharias and Elizabeth were both old and she was barren. In other words, time marches on and they got no babies. God had been silent for 400 years to the entire nation of Israel and that included silence to them. I’m sure they had given up any hope of ever having a child. Old-ness and barren-ness are really big problems and there was nothing that either of them could do about it.
There is always more going on than we can see with our eyes ( even when it come to something as sweet as babies) and as I have been thinking about being old and barren, I’ve been thinking about the spiritual climate of the nation of Israel at that time and yes…even the world. It was old and barren. The nation of Israel (as a covenant people) was at least 1500ish years old and as spiritually barren as you can imagine, but so was the rest of the world. The entire world because of sin was old, dying, barren and without any hope of bearing life at all-ever.
How interesting that God breaks the silence with news of a new life the little baby John, a forerunner (more on that soon) who will make the way ready for Life itself, to an old and barren couple. It paints a much bigger story of what is to come…God alone was going to get the glory for all the work…and He alone would do all the work in the most impossible situations.
If it’s impossible to make old barren ground of a womb fruitful and life-giving, how much more impossible to make dead barren hearts alive and life-giving? Impossible to us, but possible to Him, He excels in the impossible. Old and barren might sound really depressing, but seeing what He can do in the midst of it? Astounding.