A priest should know better. A man representing the spiritual state of God’s people shouldn’t be so quick to question God’s promises. But for Zechariah, obedience became complicated. When the angel Gabriel told him he’d have a son, he responded with doubt: “By what will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years!” (Luke 1:18). Such happy news—such unexpected goodness—deserved a glad, believing response.
While Zechariah fully expected to encounter God in the temple, Mary wasn’t anticipating anything like Gabriel’s appearance. Yet she readily responded to the angel’s declaration with bold, simple allegiance: “Behold, the Lord’s female slave! May it happen to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Her alignment with God echoes Job’s response after he endured crippling loss: “Naked I came out from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. Yahweh gives, and Yahweh takes. Let Yahweh’s name be blessed” (Job 1:21).
It’s easy …