TEXT: 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." (Luke 1:18-20)
I always feel sorry for Zechariah. Being mute for nine months is no mild punishment for a priest! The poor man had to carry out his responsibilities at the temple in Jerusalem without any voice at all-no prayers, no singing, no teaching, not even able to bless the people. And when he got home, he had to explain the whole thing to Elizabeth-without speaking. That must have been interesting. Zechariah refused to believe the angel's words, and so his own words were taken away.
But after John was born, on the day of his circumcision, God was merciful to Zechariah and restored his speech. This time Zechariah knew what to do! He immediately used his words to glorify God-and not for restoring his speech, not even for giving him the baby they had longed for. No, he praised Him for what hardly anybody realized was happening right that minute-that God was sending Jesus into the world:
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for He has visited and redeemed His people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old." (Luke 1:68-70)
God was sending His own Son, His own Word, into the world to be our Savior. Jesus is called the Word of God for good reason-He is the One who makes God known to us, who embodies God among us, acting to save us. How do we know a man's thoughts? He communicates them to us through words. How do we know God's thoughts toward us? He has made them known through Jesus, His Word.
Because Jesus is truly man, we can understand Him. Because He is truly God, we know the Father's heart toward us.
THE PRAYER: O Word of God, thank You for coming to us and making Your home among us. Amen.
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