The physician Luke is the only Gospel writer to tell us about the miraculous birth of John, who was to prepare the way for the Messiah. As is often the case when God reveals his plan, Zechariah couldn’t believe the message, even when it was delivered by an angel. If I think I would have reacted differently, I need to consider his circumstances.
As Zechariah, I’ve left home to serve twice in the Temple every year for all my adult life. I know the scriptures, have been obedient to the Lord’s commandments, and pray every day. Even after I grow old, I still pray, hoping, believing—until now. Elizabeth passed her childbearing years so long ago. The increasing pain in my knees have been a relentless reminder of my age, and I’ve now had to accept the utter impossibility that I will ever have a son.
There comes a time when faith must yield to reality. Obviously, God has a different plan.
If you’d like a sense of what Zechariah’s emotional journey was like on that eventful day when the angel Gabriel appeared, you might read my short story. Who knows? It might actually have happened that way.
The aging priest Zechariah has given up hope for a son, but how can he retire in peace when he and his wife must bear the curse of being childless?