An angel appears to Zechariah and Mary and their responses are quite different.
The Messiah was coming! Miraculously born of a virgin, this baby would grow up to overthrow rulers and reign over a kingdom that would never end!
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The physician Luke writes the Gospel of Luke based on interviews from eyewitnesses. The Gospel follows Jesus from Galilee to the journey to Jerusalem and then the Passion Week – the sufferings, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.
In his sequel, Luke writes the Book of Acts which goes from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and to ends of the world.
In Luke 1 we discover the presence of angels and the Spirit of God more than usual so that what was prophesied would come to pass. “For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37 NIV)
You see, the Holy Spirit would come and go until Jesus who was God in human form and then all believers promised to have the Spirit since Pentecost in Acts 2.
The Spirit filled John “even before he was born” because he was the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah and “turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents” as was prophesied in the last verse of the Old Testament 400 years before this moment in Malachi 4:6.
An angel appeared to Zechariah to tell him about John. Zechariah wants a sign proving what was promised. The sign was silence. Much like God seemed to be silent at the end of Malachi until this moment, Zechariah would not be able to speak.
Contrast his response with Mary’s response to the same angel. The angel explains that it is God’s favor for her in choosing her to become the One who gives birth to the Messiah. The angel told her: “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you….” (Luke 1:35 NIV)
Mary goes to visit Elizabeth where Luke tells us Elizabeth was now filled with the Holy Spirit.
Mary shares a beautiful song in which she reminds us that pride gets in our way of knowing God but instead we need to approach God with humility because “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:50 NIV)
After his son John was born, Zechariah who was filled with the Spirit, shared his song in which he thanked God for coming “to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (Luke 1:74-75 NIV)
In all of the celebrations and songs sung in Luke 1, a theme emerges. The Messiah was coming! Miraculously born of a virgin, this baby would grow up to overthrow rulers and reign over a kingdom that would never end!