This Week's Story

Zechariah was not a grumpy old man, though he disagreed with the angel Gabriel.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Zechariah: What No Human Can Do, part two

Zechariah is not a grumpy old man! It is true that he disagreed with an angel; but he is a priest in heart and one with common sense. He knows old men and women do not produce babies, and he agrees that God can do what no human being can do.

He was terrified when an angel visited him as he was working at the temple! The angel announced, “Zechariah, you have been praying for a child. Your wife Elizabeth is going to have a baby boy. He will be great in God’s sight. Name him John.”

Zechariah protested, “How can I know that you are telling the truth? My wife and I are very old.”

The angel declared, “I am Gabriel! I stand in God’s presence.”

Later when I was told what the angel said to my husband, I wondered: Who can stand in God’s presence? Caesar Augustus rules the Roman empire and who is important enough to stand in his presence? And, Caesar is a man. Gabriel stands in God’s presence. Maybe Gabriel’s message is true.  Maybe a tiny life can begin growing in my old body.

Gabriel also informed my husband. “God sent me to tell you this good news. Your son will prepare people for the coming of the Lord. Since you do not believe me, you will not speak until your son is born.”

Gabriel left. A crowd at the temple had been waiting for Zechariah to come out from the Holy Place. When he did, he said nothing, but tried to communicate with hand signs. People exclaimed, “He must have had a vision.”

My husband lived at the temple until he had finished his days of service there. Then he came home. He still could not speak.

I became pregnant. I knew I was the mother of the little one growing in me and Zechariah was the father. For five months, I stayed secluded in my home. I was happy! I thought, God is kind! He has removed my shame for having no children.

During my pregnancy, astonishing events were happening to my cousin Mary. She came to visit us and told us, “The angel Gabriel visited me. His words frightened me, but he told me, ‘Do not be afraid. God loves you. You will have a son. Name him Jesus. His title will be “Son of the Most High.” God will give him the throne of David and His kingdom will never end.’

“I asked, ‘How can I have a baby when I am not married?’

“Gabriel told me, ‘God’s spirit will cause a child to develop within you.’

“I said, ‘I am willing to accept whatever God wants. May His words come true.’

“Then, Cousin Elizabeth, the angel told me that you and Zechariah are going to have a child. You have been pregnant for six months, though people used to say, ‘It is impossible for her to have children.’ Gabriel’s last words to me were, ‘Nothing is impossible with God.’

Mary visited us for three months. Our two greatest surprises were her news of Gabriel’s visit to her and what happened when she stepped into our home.

This is Barbara Steiner. Next time we meet we will hear about Mary’s entrance into her cousin’s home. More of this story is in Luke of the Bible.


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