Why did Zechariah’s question to Gabriel get him in trouble, but Mary’s question did not?

zecchariah-doubted When Gabriel told Zechariah his wife would bear him a son, he had a question. When Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus, she had a question as well. But Zechariah got in trouble with Gabriel, and was struck dumb for nine months, whereas Mary was blessed.

Was Gabriel having a bad day when he went to Zechariah? Or what was the difference? Meditate on Luke 1 and let me know your thoughts!

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My question is, “Why didn’t the angel Gabriel wait for Zachariah to change his mind like he waited for Mary?” Both of them first looked at their own capacities to pull of God’s command, but Mary was given a chance to repent, why? We do this all the time, looking first to how we in our own resources are going to fulfill God’s calling.

Should Zachariah have known better, being older and a learned religious leader? Scripture says, to whom much is given, much is required. Whereas, Mary, being more like a child, thus like the kingdom of God, mercy was shown more to her?

Perhaps Zachariah had a ritual relationship with God, whereas Mary had an organic heart to heart, daily walk with God?

    So glad you are pondering, Livingloved. (I just put your book in the mail!) I don’t think Mary had anything to repent of by her question… but let me ask you and others some other questions down below…

Heart belief, not the question itself. Like truly wondering, “What is Truth?” and asking with skepticism “What is truth?” Only God knows…and does not necessarily “punish” or “bless” but more puts us to where we can fully learn the answer to our question.

    Michelle — good thoughts. Let me take your thoughts and ask a few questions down below…

Both Livingloved and Michelle had some good ponderings. I think it is very important to look at the specific question that each Zechariah and Mary asked of Gabriel, for there is a difference, as Michelle saw.

Tim Keller said that doubt is not wrong — but there is doubt that shows a closed mind (this isn’t possible) and doubt that shows an open mind…

How do you see more of an open mind in Mary?


I think the difference between Zachariah’s response and Mary’s response is in the way they both responded. Zachariah asked, “How can I be sure of this?” Mary responded, “How will this be?” Just that simple statement by Mary showed her faith. If I were to interpret Mary’s statement, to me, she is saying, “I believe, tell me how it is going to happen.” Zachariah, on the other hand, shows his doubt by his question: “How can I be sure of this?” Almost saying like, “I’m not sure you know what your talking about, you see, “I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” I think Mary had simple faith, believing in the one who told her. Mary wasn’t asking “if” this would happen, but how it would happen.

    Excellent Fellowsojourner!

    I like it that it is okay to ask how, even to doubt how this will be – as long as it is with the openness that it could be, because it is God —

    I do think Zechariah was a godly man, as seen by his song when God unleashes his mouth at the birth of his son. Repentance, rejoicing, believing.

    Good thoughts!


Thanks Dee! I definitely believe Zechariah was a Christian also! I’m just glad God doesn’t make us all silent when we doubt – I think alot of us would be walking around with writing pads!!! =)

I love how you respond to us! You bless our lives! Thank you Dee!

Because of this discussion, one word stood out to me as never before when Mary’s encounter with Gabe was read in the weekend services: “since.” I believe that Mary showed amazing honesty in her conversation – her assessment and verbalization of how her life really is and how she is to expect the “impossible.” Gabe notes her assessment with the answer “nothing is impossible.” How much more do I have a conversation with God: confession, we both know where I am, You have stated where I am to be: how?” Nothing is impossible with God.

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