There is something particularly beautiful about the righteousness that comes with age. There is a sweetness to it that can only be developed over the years.
There was once a husband and wife who loved God deeply. They had this kind of beautifully aged righteousness. Luke says that, “they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.”[i] If you thumb through the scriptures there are very few people commended as highly as this. The husband, Zechariah, had given his life in God’s service as a priest.
“But,” Luke tells us, “they had no child.” This was no small thing and certainly no personal choice. They had yearned for a child and prayed for a child. But no child had come. Any childless couple, any mother who has lost her pre-born child, knows the mark of pain, the empty place that can’t be covered up in the heart. Everyone who has walked through this loss knows the temptation to sin against God in the face of disappointment and shame.
But Zechariah and Elizabeth had walked righteously in the face of grief.
Then one day Zechariah had the incredible blessing of being chosen to enter the Holy Place in the temple to burn incense. He never could have anticipated what awaited him.