Christmas Questions – Zechariah

Over the weeks leading up to Christmas, let’s spend time looking at three questions asked around the birth of Christ. (Read Luke 1:5-80). The first question we will examine was asked by Zechariah, the elderly priest who was on duty when an angel appeared and told him he and his wife Elizabeth were going to be parents.  At first, the priest was “startled and gripped with fear,” which I find a little surprising. After all, he was a priest serving in the temple. If anyone would expect an encounter with the Lord, wouldn’t it be an on-duty priest?

The angel continued with a prophecy of the life their son–John the Baptist–would lead (read Luke 1:14-17). Zechariah’s reaction:

“How can I be sure of this?” Luke 1:18

The priest’s question was almost an insult to the angel. Can’t you see this heavenly being standing up to his full angelic height, retorting: “Do you know who I am?” More accurately, the angel responded, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you the 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 . . .” (Luke 1:19-20)

Questions for you to consider:

  • What unanswered prayer are you still believing God to answer?
    • Are you praying with expectation, or will you be shocked when He answers?
  • Why do you think the angel took away Zechariah’s ability to speak for nine months?
    • How would you react if the Lord told you you had to be silent for a period of time?

Post your comments and insights. I love the discussion.



  1. What an interesting perspective you gave about Zechariah being startled and gripped with fear by the angel! That is a surprising reaction for a priest, especially one who faithfully obeyed God’s commandments and rules.
    This story is interesting to me because I can only imagine Elizabeth’s reaction when her husband comes home from work and can’t speak. And for nine months, he can’t speak to his wife, who is pregnant and probably frightened (and at the same time excited) about having a baby at her age! It probably was difficult for Zechariah to not speak, but I bet even more so for his wife! Poor Elizabeth!

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