Zechariah was chosen to minister an offering incense in the Holy Place of the temple. It was a high honor for priest. While there, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his wife would bear him a son who would be great in the sight of the Lord. Luke 1:18 (NLT) records his response, “Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I know this will happen? I'm an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.’” Some have said this was not really a question but rather the complaint of an old man bitter because the Lord had not blessed them with a child previously. While stated like a question, it does not really seem to be seeking truth. Gabriel responds to the unbelief telling Zechariah that he will be mute until the birth of the child.
It is interesting that just a few verses later in the same passage, another person asks, “How can this be?” but with a very different response—a simple answer. Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her that she will bear the promised Messiah of Israel. Her heart is believing, but she needs more information because she is so young, so the text tells us, “Mary asked the angel, ‘But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.’” (Luke 1:34 NLT) Gabriel gently gives her a simple yet accurate answer. He further gives her information about her relative Elizabeth that she needs to know.
The second person of the Trinity coming to earth to take on human flesh is a mind-expanding concept that ought to cause us to have questions about “how this can be.” For an in-depth study of the virgin birth, I suggest Dr. Robert Gromacki’s book, The Virgin Birth: A Biblical Study of the Deity of Jesus Christ.
Ask the Lord to lead you this Christmas to a place of deep wonder and appreciation of the gift of love the Father gave us in Jesus! You will be blessed and be a blessing to others in your joy!
Principles cited in this blog: Questions can be either complaining or honest. The Lord loves to answer honest questions from his children.
Application for ISI ministry: The more we study the Bible and learn from biblical teachers about what the Lord has done, the more joy we have and express in all our relationships.
Next blog topic: [We will take a break for a couple of weeks and resume after the New Year on January 11.]
Doug Shaw with Derrah Jackson