Our story of Elizabeth and Zechariah continues in Luke 1:11-25. Zechariah was serving in the temple and the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him about his coming son, John. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Zechariah’s reaction to the angel had been fear but to his message – it was doubt. Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Gabriel was not pleased and sentenced Zechariah to silence as he awaited the birth of his son because of his unbelief. 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.” Zechariah reacted in unbelief instead of remembering the miracles God has performed in the past with godly women like Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, and Sarah, the mother of Isaac.
Let’s look at Elizabeth’s reaction to the news. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:25 Elizabeth responds with grace and thanksgiving to the favor God showed her.
What about you? Do you respond with unbelief when God works a miracle in your life like Zechariah? Or do you respond with grace by giving thanks and praise to God like Elizabeth? We know from this story that God desires faith not doubt. James 1:6 “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” Zechariah’s disbelief left him literally speechless for months. God desires that we be strong, grounded in Him and filled with faith, not wavering in unbelief. Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:25 how it really is, “ Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Will you step out in faith this Christmas and respond to Him with grace and thanksgiving in your heart for what He has done in sending Jesus or will you doubt? The choice is yours and it has eternal results. Unbelief will result in eternal separation from God, not just 9 months of silence. Turn to Him in faith today and be like Elizabeth responding in praise with thanksgiving and grace. God wants to bless us through our faith- be open and responsive to Him today this first Sunday of Advent.