In Luke 1, we have two intersecting pregnancy stories: Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, followed by Mary the (eventual) mother of Jesus. Zacharias was a priest who is described with his wife Elizabeth as being “righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord” (v. 6). However, they were childless and advanced in years.
On one particular day, when Zacharias entered the temple to perform his priestly duties, he encountered the angel Gabriel. The angel told Zacharias that Elizabeth would bear a son who would turn many people’s hearts back to the Lord. But Zacharias questioned Gabriel: “How will I know this? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years” (v. 18). Because he questioned Gabriel, Zacharias was made mute until his wife gave birth to their son.
On the surface, this hardly seems fair for at least three reasons: (more…)