Advent: A Surprise Judgment.

19 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. 20 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.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 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. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” (Luke 19-25)

For the first time in this text, the angel who was speaking to Zechariah identified himself. “19 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.” (Luke 1:19)

What do we know about Gabriel? His name means “strong man of God.” The Tyndale Bible Dictionary says that he is, “One of the two angels mentioned by name in the Bible (the other is Michael). Gabriel appeared in human form to Daniel to reveal to him the meaning of a vision, to show what would transpire on the Day of Judgment, and to give Daniel wisdom and understanding (Dan. 8:16; 9:21–22). In the NT Gabriel appeared to Zechariah the priest as he served in the temple, to announce the birth of Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist (Lk 1:11–20). Six months later Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would become the mother of Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah (Lk 1:26–33). Gabriel is commonly called an archangel but is not referred to as such in the Bible.”

What did Gabriel says about himself? First, that he stood in the presence of God. Second, that God sent him to specifically speak to Zechariah. Third, that he came to bring the priest good news.

What did Gabriel then say to Zechariah following his disbelieving response? “. 20 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.” Gabriel clearly indicated that Zechariah’s comment was based upon unbelief in the angel’s announcement. Therefore, Zechariah would remain mute throughout Elizabeth’s pregnancy. This would be the sign Zachariah received to support the revelation that he and Elizabeth would have a son. It was probably not the sign Zechariah expected. Because Zechariah did not use his tongue wisely, he would not be able to use his tongue at all.

The contrast cannot be more apparent; the priest’s cold skepticism and the angel’s towering certainty. The priest’s presumptuous doubt and the angel’s profound conviction. Zechariah called into question a wonderful gospel promise that sprang from the heart and mind of God.

What is our response when we encounter a promise from God’s Word? Do we immediately believe it or do we meet it with skepticism? Respond with wholehearted trust, commitment, dependence and worship today beloved of God. The Lord is trustworthy, dependable and worthy of worship.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

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