In the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, he introduces hope to his readers by giving us essential background information about the very important people who partnered with God to bring light to a people that was beginning to lose hope.
In Scene 1, we are introduced to Zechariah, a priest to whom God spoke through an angel. Zechariah was the first to hear of God’s plan to redeem the world through His Son Jesus, and God’s plan was to use Zechariah’s son to introduce Jesus to the world. The only problem was that Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had not been able to have children, and had begrudgingly accepted the fact that they were barren.
However, as God had already done so often throughout the storyline found in the Old Testament, He had plans to use the least likely people to fulfill His plan. Zechariah questioned the angel Gabriel as to how he and his wife could bear a son when after much effort, they had not been successful.
The scene switches to where Mary, most likely a teenager, who had been pledged to marry a man named Joseph, is unassumingly in the midst of her daily routine when the same angel appears to her to give her a similar message to the one he gave to Zechariah.
Because of the astounding news that Gabriel delivered, both Zechariah and Mary questioned the angel as to how what he was describing could be possible. Interestingly, Zechariah was disciplined for his doubt, but Mary was not.
I believe that the reason for this is due to the fact that Zechariah was not only older, but he was married and was a spokesman for God. He was a man whose responsibility was to teach others about God and His plan for their lives. He was a person who should be able to trust that with God nothing is impossible. This is why God chose to mute Zechariah until his son John was born.
Mary, on the other hand, was a young girl who was not married, and had kept herself pure for her soon to be husband. For a virgin to have a child was biologically impossible, at least up to that point. This helps to explain why Mary did not receive the same consequences as Zechariah, not to mention the fact that her ability to communicate with Joseph was so important given the fact that they would have much to talk about if they were going to go ahead with the wedding in spite of their unprecedented situation.
The theme of this first chapter is clearly to teach us that nothing is impossible with God. We need to position ourselves to hear from God and then trust what He is whispering to us. It doesn’t matter who we are or what our reality may look like. God has a plan for each of us, and it is up to us to trust in that plan enough to live in obedience to whatever He asks. And when we do, the impossible becomes possible!