Zechariah & Mary

I have a lot of Bible questions that I don’t think I’ll get answered (in this life anyway). I suspect it is the same with you.

Here’s an example from my recent daily reading: in Luke 1:18 and 34, why did Zechariah’s question to Gabriel warrant punishment but Mary’s did not? From the text, they seem to be very similar questions, asked in the same way, with the same degree of respect:

And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” – Luke 1:18

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
– Luke 1:34

I’ve thought about this and asked a couple of Bible scholars and the best we can come up with is the realization that overall the Bible only gives us a certain amount of information (otherwise it would be a really big book!). In this case, Zechariah may have had an attitude or something else that just isn’t carried to us in the text. And for God’s purpose for us via this text, that information must not be needed.

That brings up a point (that I mentioned previously) which has taken a lot of work for my engineering-type personality to accept: there are just some things in the Bible that we can’t know. We’ve got to trust God enough to accept that He’s told us what we need. If we want to know more, maybe we should concentrate on getting to Heaven so we can ask him!


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