Devotional Passage: Luke 1:24-25
Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? It could have been something small or some-thing big. No matter what it is, when you get blamed for something, it’s a terrible feeling, especially when you know that you didn’t do anything wrong.
Read Luke 1:24-25. We’re continuing with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. They are an important (if sometimes forgotten) part of the Christmas story. We can learn from them a great deal, but we may have to look a little more closely to find it. In today’s passage, it’s easy to skip over the really powerful truth contained within it. So let’s take a moment to slow down a bit.
Why did Elizabeth hide for so long? To understand this, we have to understand what the word “reproach” means. In verse 25, Elizabeth says the Lord “looked on [her], to take away [her] reproach among people.” The word reproach means “an expression of disapproval or disappointment.” What was going on? What had Elizabeth done wrong that people would disapprove of? In a word, nothing. But that didn’t keep people from treating her as if she had.
In Elizabeth’s culture, when a woman was unable to have a child, it was seen as a sign of God’s judgment. People assumed that if a woman couldn’t have a child, she must be living in such a way that God was displeased with her. Now, certainly, Elizabeth wasn’t perfect. But the Bible describes her and Zechariah as “righteous.” Nowadays, we know that the inability to have a baby is due to biological reasons. But Elizabeth had lived her life under the judgment of others. In a sense, she had been accused of something she didn’t do. So not only was she happy that God would be giving her a son, but she had to be incredibly, amazingly relieved that God was clearing her name, freeing her from the undeserved judgment of others.
Freedom. Freedom from judgment. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from sin. Jesus’ birth over 2,000 years ago signified all of these things. Not just for Elizabeth, but for all people everywhere who would come to believe in Jesus.
Think about this:
• What are some words that describe how Elizabeth must have felt when God took away her reproach?
• Have you ever thought about how it makes you feel when you consider the fact that Jesus has done the same for you? Express to God how it makes you feel when you think about Him removing your sin, guilt, and shame.