" And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense." (Luke 1:8-11 AV) Luke's Train of Thought: Luke's Focus: The word "incense" is used three times. The reference to the "whole multitude" praying is obvious on the face of the fact that it seems to have little to do with the story -- indicating that it may be the point of the story! That the angelic message was "your petition has been answered" seems to indicate that "prayer" is the focus here. We need to realize that everything moves in the direction of "relationship": there is nothing that goes on that is not designed to enhance our knowledge of God and, thus, our relationship to/with Him. Luke's Bigger Picture: The details regarding the arrival of John on the scene of history are important. It was important for Theophilus to understand that John's arrival on the scene was miraculous as an answer to prayer. The implication is that the Sovereign Lord works His will so that it will be seen as a solution to the unfulfilled desires of the godly. The godly desire what God desires; God desires also that the godly sense a participation with Him in the pursuit of those desires. There is here a focus upon the reality that life comes through participation with God in significant action. Accomplishing vanity leads to a sense of futility; accomplishing an enduring objective leads to a sense of fulfillment with joy.