Something jumped out at me while reading last night’s chapter of Luke's Gospel. In the first chapter, an older gentleman and a young woman each had a separate encounter with the angel, Gabriel. I don’t know if angels are temperamental or not, but I wondered why Gabriel handled the virgin Mary with kid gloves, as they say, but literally shut poor old Zacharias down when they basically asked him the same question.
“How can this happen?”
Gabriel appeared first to the righteous old priest to let him know that his wife of a certain age was going to bear his child. Zacharias was incredulous at this news, and asked, “How can I be sure this will happen?” or, “How shall I know this?” (Depending on which version you’re reading.)
Now, according to my husband, this was a typical male response. He would’ve asked the same question if he were in Zacharias’s shoes. Thankfully, we don't have THAT problem, but I digress...
Gabriel did not come to play!
It was almost as if the angel told the old priest, “Who do you think I am? Let me shut your mouth before you say something to block this child’s blessings!” So he did, and Zacharias couldn’t speak again until after baby John (the Baptist) was born.
But with the virgin Mary, Gabriel was much more generous in his response. When he told her that she was with Child, she asked, “But how can this happen?” In my view, this was the same question that poor old Zacharias had asked. But, clearly, Gabriel didn’t see it that way.
Instead of causing her to become mute for the entire pregnancy, as well, Gabriel explained to her that the Holy Spirit would appear to her, and bless her womb with the Son of God. Then, he concluded by saying...
“Nothing is impossible with God.”
I was scratching my head wondering why Gabriel couldn’t have just said that to Zacharias, too. So, I put the question out to the rest of my family, and our 30-year-old son said maybe it’s because Zacharias had prayed for a child, but Mary did not. And, Zacharias’s question was full of doubt, while Mary’s was simply curious.
Good point! My thought was perhaps Gabriel’s level of expectation was higher for Zacharias than for Mary. After all, he was much older, he was a priest, and he would have known very well how God made the same promise to Abraham, and fulfilled it! Mary was a child compared to Zacharias, and perhaps this is why Gabriel’s response to her was more patient and encouraging.
So, what can we learn from this?
As we get older and more experienced in life, we must allow our faith and wisdom to grow. We must become accountable for what we learn along the way. We are increasingly responsible for the words that come out of our mouths. And, we don’t get a pass when we become elderly. Quite the contrary! Words have power. And, we must be careful how we use them because they can destroy all that God has done and is continuing to do in our lives.
Thank you so much for stopping by my little blog. It’s simply a vehicle by which I intend to reveal a bit about my own personal journey as a woman, a mother, and a believer in Jesus Christ. I appreciate you taking the time to “listen.” We do a lot of talking these days, but not enough “listening” when it comes to understanding each other’s differences and similarities. If you are so inclined, feel free to subscribe, drop a comment below, or follow me on social media @listen2leslie.