“And now you will be silent and unable to speak until the day this comes to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.” (Luke 1:20) The incredulous reaction of Zechariah to Gabriel’s words concerning John the Baptist is in sharp contrast with that of Mary, and somewhat with Joseph.
“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and was unwilling to disgrace her publicly, he resolved to divorce her quietly…But after he had pondered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream…When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him…” (Matthew 1:19-24)
Here are two extremely blessed men with varying degrees of skepticism which turns into belief at a different pace. Also, Joseph trusted a dream, whereas Zechariah was awake! It’s interesting to contrast their immediate reactions with those of Mary and Elizabeth, whose humbler station in life possibly accounts for their grasp of redemption more quickly. Honestly? I identify with Zechariah…skeptical, hesitant, slower to realization. Terrified actually.
Mary was truly more like Abraham!
Art by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (c. 1840)