Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”Luke 1:18-20 NIV
The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
I may just be warped, but I always find this passage to be amusing. Gabriel appears to be one of the big dogs among the angels, and he shows up with good news for Zechariah. Zechariah responds with what seems some skepticism to Gabriel’s news. And I love Gabriel’s response. A very liberal interpretation of Gabriel’s response to Zechariah might be something like the following.
“How dare you doubt me. I am Gabriel, not some run of the mill angel. God himself sent me to deliver this message to you, and now your doubt is gonna cost you.”
Responding to a Message From God
I know that is not exactly what he said, but it is oftentimes how it comes across to me, warped as I am. And then I wonder, would I react any differently? It is hard to imagine that I would not have doubt if he was to deliver the same message to me today. Knowing my age and physical circumstances, it is hard to picture having child #3.
But it’s not just about having kids. How many messages does God have delivered to me that I respond to with doubt? Or even ignore? Does it make any difference if he delivers it via a powerful angel, the words of Scripture, or a message from the pulpit? Why should I expect that he would continue to try and communicate with me if I am responding that way. How much better to respond like Mary with “I’m yours. Do with me what you will” (Lk. 1:38).