Background There is a contrast between the way Zechariah and Elizabeth accept the blessing God is offering. Zechariah doesn’t believe it and challenges the Gabriel to how it could be true. He is silenced by God until the birth due to this- unable to spread the news he was unable to believe. Elizabeth accepts what is happening to her, she knows against all odds she is pregnant, and with no angelic visit, still realizes this is a gift from God. In her time, Elizabeth was viewed as cursed because you passed on the continuity of God’s promise to your children, so she had failed in some people’s eyes. The pragmatist might struggle with details of this passage, certainly we would disagree that Elizabeth should feel disgraced (not graced), and we also might wonder what the time frame was before she believed, or even if her husband passed her a note. However, there is a focus here of the faith in and power of God to do the unexpected.
Focus Verse Luke 1: 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.”
Zechariah failed to accept the good news. Keep in mind, he has read and knows deeply the stories of Sarah, and Rachel, and Hannah. This isn’t first time this promise has been made and kept by God. However, he asks for proof, or why he should believe. It is one thing to read about the power of God, another to see it come to you and speak. Do you see yourself in Zechariah, or in Elizabeth with her faith in what God is doing through her? A bit of both? But, while punished in some respects, it is important to remember that the blessing was still given to Zechariah even as he struggled with his faith. God doesn’t demand faith to work for us and through us.