Zacharias is Unable to Speak

Lord Halifax, a former foreign secretary of Great Britain, once shared a railway compartment with two prim-looking spinsters. A few moments before reaching his destination the train passed through a tunnel. In the utter darkness Halifax kissed the back of his hand noisily sev … More


When told he would have a son, Zacharias doubted the angel’s word. From his human perspective, his doubts were understandable, but with God anything is possible. Zacharias had doubts that he and Elisabeth could have a child since both of them were old (v. 18). This good man, though possessing real faith in the Lord, still had considerable unbelief in his heart. The angel said, “I am Gabriel, God’s servant, and I was sent to tell you this good news (v. 19). Doubting the angel’s announcement, Zacharias’ speech is taken from him until the baby is born. This seems to be both as a punishment for his unbelief as well as a sign (v. 20). It is easy to doubt or misunderstand what God wants to do in our lives. Even as a child of God we sometimes make the mistake of trusting our intellect or experience rather than God. When we are tempted to think that one of God’s promises is impossible we need to remember that His power is not confined to human limitations.

When Zacharias comes out of the temple, the people waiting outside for his benediction see that he has had some unusual experience (vv. 21-25). In fact they were no doubt amazed to find that he  could not speak. For the next nine months Zacharias’ attempt to speak would only prove the reality of Gabriel’s message. As soon as his two weeks of ministering in the temple were completed he departed to his own home (v. 23). Zacharias and Elizabeth were both faithful people, and yet they were suffering. Many Jews at that time did not believe in the bodily resurrection, so their hope of immortality was in their children. In addition, children cared for their parents in their old age.

The Word of God never fails. In due time God begins to fulfill His promise as Elisabeth conceived and passed a period of five months in seclusion. One can imagine how full her heart must have been as she realized that after all of these years she was going to have a child.


I wonder if God is not often grieved because of my lack of faith. Oh, that I might learn the lesson of faith, and confidence in Him. He challenges me with the question,"Is anything too hard for Him?”

Luke 1:18-25 (English Standard Version)

And Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time." And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, "Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."

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