The Christmas account in Luke 1 contains the amazing stories of two miraculous births: John and Jesus. There are quite a few similarities between the two stories…

  • Both pregnancies were miraculous.
  • An angel appeared to announce the birth of both boys.
  • Both boys had large roles in God’s plan of redemption.

The main difference is in the response to the angel from Zechariah and from Mary.


Luke 1 chronicles the scene as Zechariah, a priest, walks into the temple to perform the once-in-a-lifetime act of burning incense to the Lord on the altar. As he prays, the angel Gabriel appears and tells him they will have a son. Zechariah responds with wavering faith, asking how that’s possible and telling the angel why the plan won’t work.


Six months later, Gabriel also appears to Mary, and announces similar (yet even more miraculous) news: she too will conceive and have a baby boy. Mary also responds with a question, but the lack of rebuke proves to us that she was not doubting God’s promise – she was simply wondering at His power.

Who are you like?

Do you tend to respond in skeptical, wavering faith, like Zechariah?

Or do you respond with prayerful, wondering faith, like Mary?

May we always maintain a sense of wonder, never losing sight of God’s power to do the impossible.

And for all my Zechariahs out there: beware of your tendency to tell God why His ideas won’t work. You won’t stop God’s promises, but you may prevent yourself from enjoying them.

K E V I N • M I L L E R

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