Zechariah Reacts to God’s Message

This entry is part 5 of 13 in the series Jesus' Birth and Early Years


  • Luke 1:5-25

Zechariah, the priest, was serving in God’s Temple. Suddenly to the right of the incense altar, Archangel Gabriel appeared with a message from God.

They Wanted a Child


They weren’t young any more and had no children; Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, was barren.

They wanted a child and they prayed to God.

Gabriel brought the message that God had heard their prayers. Elizabeth would bear Zechariah a son and his name would be John.

God gave him a name before birth.  There are 7 children named by God before birth in the Bible.

Gabriel told Zechariah that his son would bring great joy and gladness at birth; He would be the one who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah. Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayer weren’t only answered, the prophecy about their son exceeded way above their expectations.


Zechariah Reacts to God’s Message

Zechariah was probably dumbfounded by this wonderful news and great prophecy….

  • Zechariah was a priest; he knew his Bible.
  • He was working in God’s Temple where God’s presence was, when God’s angel appeared to him in this holy place.
  • Outside, the nation of Israel was waiting for him to burn the incense on the altar in the holy place. They were waiting for the smoke of the burnt incense so that they could pray. The smoke drifting heavenward symbolized their prayers reaching God’s throne.
  • In this environment Gabriel brought him the message and prophecy from God; their prayers were answered.

What did Zechariah do when he heard this wonderful news?

“How can I be sure this will happen? Zechariah asked.  Instead of praising God, Zechariah doubted; he didn’t believe.


Gabriel’s Reaction to Zechariah

Gabriel immediately closed Zechariah’s mouth.

Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” (Luke 1:19-20 NLT)

Gabriel did damage control.

Zechariah was silenced; he wasn’t able to utter another word of disbelief, contradicting the promises of God.

The crowds waited for Zechariah to come out and wondered about the delay. What was taking him so long? When he came out, he couldn’t speak. He finished his week of duties in silence and was mute until the day he said his son’s name.


How do You React to God’s Message?

Often you pray, believing and waiting on God.

Sometimes you wait for a very long time…

Time passes and nothing happens….

Then one day God sends a messenger to you. He brings you the message that God had heard your prayers. The messenger continues to prophecy over you way more than what you asked for….God was blessing you exceedingly and abundantly.

What do you do?

What is your reaction?

  • Do you end the shocked silence with unbelief that God had actually heard your prayer – because in the back of your mind you had doubts, despite your fervent prayers?
  • Do you follow Zechariah or
  • Mary’s example? (Read about Mary’s reaction in the article titled Mary Servant of God).

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