NBC Sunday School Manual For December 11, 2022 :Topic – Zechariah Speaks
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SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
Sunday, December 11, 2022
TOPIC: ZECHARIAH SPEAKS
Devotional Reading: Malachi 4:1-6
Background Scripture: Luke 1:57-80
Lesson Scripture: Luke 1:57-66, 76-79
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him. Luke 1:76
Objectives: By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
I. State Zechariah’s prophecies about his son, John.
II. Identify some strange things that characterised the birth and christening of John the Baptist.
III. Make personal commitment to raise their children to know God’s purpose for their
Experience has shown that Nigerians love to organise and attend celebrations. It could be naming ceremony, wedding, burial, birthday, promotion, retirement and others. Out of these different celebrations, some people place more value on naming ceremony especially if the child came after a long time of waiting. Such ceremony usually attract friends, colleagues and relations from far and near majorly for two reasons: to confirm for themselves the miracle and to celebrate God’s faithfulness with the parents of the child. Another major thing that characterises such unique occasion is the several names with different meanings given to the child. Looking at the life of John the Baptist, we can conclude that the names that people bear play important role in their lives.
However, according to the passage, the naming ceremony of John the Baptist is in contrast to what is commonly done in our contemporary time. His birth was surrounded by some strange happenings. After the angel visited Zechariah with a promise of a child, he became dumb immediately and could not speak throughout Elizabeth’s pregnancy because he doubted the possibility. Secondly, after the birth of John, there was a controversy over what name the child would be called on the eighth day after his circumcision. While Elizabeth suggested the name John according to the message of the angel, the family insisted to name him after his father as their custom demands. The climax was the miracle of Zechariah’s ability to speak and confirmed the name John. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to praise God and prophesy concerning the born child.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. A Promise Fulfilled. Luke 1:57-66
One of the things that distinguishes God from man is that His promises are sure. Whenever He speaks, He makes sure it is fulfilled according to His Word. The prophecies through the angel to Zechariah concerning the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17) came to pass. When the appointed time came, Elizabeth gave birth to a son. In fulfilment of the predictions that the child will bring joy and delight and that many will rejoice because of his birth (v.14), neighbours and relatives shared their joy when they heard of the miracle of God. When the child was a week old, they came to circumcise him and name him after his father, Zechariah. But Elizabeth insisted that his name will be John – in accordance with the words of the angel. Their relatives disagreed because none of the relatives bears that name (v.61). Eventually, Zechariah confirmed the name by writing it on a tablet. He wrote, “His name is John” (v.63), meaning “The LORD is gracious.” Immediately, Zechariah began to speak and started praising God. So, the people were filled with awe and they testified to the wonders of God and the future of the child (vv. 65-66).
God usually sets an appointed time to fulfil His promises (Ecclesiastes 3:1). For instance, when God called Abraham and promised to give him a son (Genesis 15:5), it was fulfilled after 25 years (Genesis 21:1-5). Jesus Christ also came at an appointed time (Galatians 4:4). Elizabeth’s appointed time can be seen in two dimensions: First, the appointed time for her to deliver the baby and second, the deliverance from an elongated problem of barrenness and reproach in the community of believers. All of these are indications that God is faithful to His promises. The challenge, therefore, is that we should be optimistic about the promises of God though they may seem delayed but because God has said it, it must come to pass.
1. Discuss the importance of names and the possible ways they affect people’s lives.
2. Compare and contrast what happens in contemporary naming ceremony with what happened at the naming of John the Baptist/How should believers do christening of their babies?
B. Zechariah’s Prophecy Luke 1:76-79
Immediately Zechariah was able to speak again, he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he started to prophesy about the mission of his son, John. This prophecy is known as the “Benedictus”, from its first word in Latin meaning “Praised”. He comprehensively analysed the mission of the child as follows: He will be called the prophet of the Most High. This means that John will be the prophet chosen by God to prepare for the coming of the Lord in order to save His people from destruction. This is in conformity with what the angel told him about the child (Luke 1:32).
▪︎ He shall prepare the way for the Lord. This was fulfilled in the ministry of John (Luke 3:4).
▪︎He was in the desert giving people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
▪︎ To serve as light to those living in darkness and in the shadow of death. In order words, those who are in sin, lost and separated from God will be reconciled to Him again, as well as guide the people in the path of peace. By implication, his ministry will be characterised by peace. God has never stopped talking to His people either for warning, rebuke or punishment. God had earlier spoken through prophet Isaiah concerning the mission of John the Baptist. Therefore, what was spoken through Zechariah was a confirmation of what was earlier spoken through Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 3:4; Isaiah 40:3). He was destined to be the prophet of the Most High. Furthermore, he shall prepare the way for the Lord and he shall give the knowledge of salvation to God’s people. The testimony is that John faithfully carried out his task of preparing the people to receive the Saviour through the confession of their sins, repentance and baptism.
1. What is the place of parental prophetic prayers in guiding the children to their divine purpose in life?
2.Discuss the importance of having peace in our world.
Commitment: Make a personal commitment to seek the face of God in guiding your children to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity
Let class members who have experienced delay in having children share their testimonies of God’s visitation and pray for all waiting couples.
1. Pray for the strength to hold on to God’s promises at all times.
2. Pray for the grace to faithfully carry out everything God has committed into your hand.
State at least three main lessons you are taking home based on today’s lesson.