11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. Luke 1:11-15

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. Luke 1:18-20

Reporter: Zechariah, you’ve been a priest for many years. It’s been said that you and your wife, Elizabeth, are righteous in the sight of God and observe His commands and decrees blamelessly. So… why was it such a struggle to believe Gabriel when he announced that you would have a son?

Zechariah: First of all, having an angel appear before you is utterly terrifying. Furthermore, I was in the temple on official business performing my priestly duty. The last thing I expected was a personal encounter with the archangel Gabriel.

Reporter: So your doubt was due to the personal nature of the message?

Zechariah: Of course. It took me off guard. Not to mention Elizabeth and I were already old, well beyond childbearing age.

Reporter: You didn’t recall the story of Abraham and Sarah… or Hannah or Rebekah or Rachel… or other barren women with whom God miraculously intervened?

Zechariah: What I recalled was how much we had prayed for a child. For many years Elizabeth and I petitioned God. We prayed with great faith. We hoped. We trusted. For decades, we did this.

Reporter: And nothing happened.

Zechariah: And nothing happened. Then it was too late, and with heavy hearts we accepted it was God’s will.

Reporter: Did Gabriel’s announcement feel more painful than hopeful?

Zechariah: Hope can be painful, or so I thought. Gabriel said my prayer had been heard. He told me Elizabeth would bear a son and we were to call him John. That he would be a joy and a delight to us and would prepare the people for the Lord. It was truly incredible. A miracle. I know that God is faithful. I know this. And yet, I doubted. I doubted that we were chosen.

Reporter: What was your response?

Zechariah: I asked Gabriel how I could be sure because, you know, we were already so old– as if God didn’t know that. I know now that it was a ridiculous question.

Reporter: I imagine most people can sympathize, given the circumstances.

Zechariah: Thanks, but they shouldn’t. I asked an archangel sent by God how I could be sure of what he was telling me. What was I thinking? How could I not fall on my face and praise God right then and there? I deserved what came next.

Reporter: Not being able to speak?

Zechariah: Yes. Because of my disastrous unbelief, I couldn’t talk again until after my son was born. When I was finally able to, I immediately began praising God– what I should’ve done in the first place.

Reporter: What would you like to tell others, in light of this experience?

Zechariah: Simple. Repent and believe. God chose you, and He wants to use you, even if you think it’s too late or impossible. Let God be God. Trust Him and believe.

You’ve chosen.


Acknowledge to God an area in you life you’ve hardened your heart about and resolve to be surrendered and open to anything He wants to do.


  • What is something you’ve repeatedly petitioned God for?
  • Do you struggle to believe God hears your prayers?
  • What are some audacious things you can ask God to do in your life?