When God Interrupts Your Ministry, Pastor Phil Sessa

Luke 1:22 – 23, “22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home”

Have you ever had your life interrupted by something? I can recall being in Bible college and I was sitting being bored in my Old Testament class, when I was summoned out of class by an administrator and told to call home because of an emergency. I called and found that I would be on a plane the next day to attend my grandfather’s funeral in Puerto Rico. I missed one week of classes because I was interrupted by something more important, unfortunately it was my papa’s death.

A similar thing happened in the life of Zachariah, father of John the Baptist. He was doing his routine ministry duty, burning incense in the temple of the Lord, while people outside were praying. An interruption came when suddenly, the angel Gabriel showed up where he was at the altar in the midst of Zachariah’ ministry. Gabriel had not been invited, or expected not to mention it was both shocking and not even progressive. God did not give him a hint that things were going to be a little different on this day of ministry, and things would be changed from this day on for Zachariah. The angel said “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.” Zachariah reacted with fear (of the unknown), his heart was troubled. He did not know what to make of this divine visitation. This was certainly an “out of the box” ministry experience for him, and his ministry was certainly being interrupted by God.

God had heard his prayer, and Gabriel was proclaiming the answer to that prayer, but it was met by Zachariah’s fear. The angel proclaimed that Zachariah would have a son. God was going to birth something new, and miraculous. John the Baptist would literally be the new ministry birthed, which would be great in God’s sight, not given to the influence of the world (wine), but under the influence of God (Holy Spirit). Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” John would be a Spirit controlled prophet. His ministry is described in Luke 1:17, “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” He would preach repentance, bring restoration, minister in righteousness, and be a forerunner to make people ready for the coming of the Messiah. WOW!

Zachariah’s heart responded with disbelief and doubt because he and his wife were no spring chickens. Therefore as a consequence, the angel struck him dumb and he was unable to speak. “When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. When his time of service was completed, he returned home.” Later on in Luke 1 he receives his speech back, when he becomes obedient. Luke 1:62-64 reads, “62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed and he began to speak, praising God.” His obedience resulted in restoration, and he responded in praise. What if he would have just believed and obeyed in the first place? I’m sure things would have went much smoother.

Application: If God interrupted your ministry, would you obey or delay. God is looking for instant obedience, because delayed obedience is still disobedience. Remember, consequences came to Zachariah for disobedience. Be wise, trust and obey. Go with His flow! God is looking for people he can interrupt to do His will through, are you one of those people? Blessings Pastor Phil


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