Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 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.” Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. Luke 1:18-21
Zechariah and Elizabeth, were people who loved the Lord, people who followed His commandments and laws, as we have read earlier in Luke’s Gospel. They were chosen to raise a child that would would carry out a special assignment, preparing the way for Christ, initiating God’s rescue plan for the world. The Lord of All intentionally sent Zechariah a messenger, the angel Gabriel, when he could have simply let His will be done.
Not only did Gabriel give Zechariah good news but the he gave God’s instructions and details: What the baby's name would be, guidelines about wine and fermented drink (v 15). John would be a joy and delight (v 14), he would be great in the sight of the Lord, filled with the Holy Spirit before birth, and he would prepare people for the Lord. (V 15 & 17)
Then, after all that, Zechariah questions the validity of the message! A man who lived to please the Lord, a priest, a man of God, is questioning an angel, standing in the middle of the temple, “How can I be sure…?”
We do the same thing don’t we? We pray and pray for a thing to happen and then when it does we can’t believe it. We busy ourselves with all the “How in the world and How can I be sure?” that we like Zechariah, miss an immediate opportunity to fall on our knees and simply say THANK YOU. And like Zechariah we deny giving God the immediate glory, our lips are sealed, and we miss the immediate embrace of PEACE we are offered through the answer. That is why Jesus did all he did for you. He opened his arms on the cross so that you could be embraced with peace every day, not only when you have an answered prayer. Give up your doubts and questions, embrace His peace and give all the glory to God.
Father, thank you for hearing our prayers. Thank you for answering them. Holy Spirit help us, grant us faith to recognize your answer, embrace your peace every day and give you all the glory. In Christ Jesus we pray, Amen.