Selective Punishment...why?


After Gabriel came to Zechariah and said Elizabeth will conceive a child, Zecahriah said “How shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years”.

After Gabriel came to Mary and said she will conceive a child, Mary said “How can this be, since I have had no relations with a man?”

Mary and Zechariah both doubted Gabriel’s message, yet Gabriel chose to punish Zechariah by making him speechless and unable to talk. Mary had no such punishment.



Hi. Got to reply quick, lunch almost over:) It becomes clearer when you look at the texts in content, not just the quotes.

Zechariah does not believe that the Lord can do as Gabriel says, and basically challenges the Lord’s power and ability. Sort of like “Ya’ gotta be kidding me Gabe, we’re way past child bearing years - no way dude!”

Mary does believe that the Lord can do as Gabriel says and wants to know what she needs to do to make it so. Sort of like “I’m with ya Gabe, now what do we have to do to fire up this puppy?”

Well, O.K., maybe they didn’t call Gabriel “Gabe”, but you get my drift?


I like your style Doc. Thanks for the explanation!


Further developing the two passages. . .

Remember, Zacharias and Elizabeth were ‘barren’ but did engage in sexual relations. The parallel here is Abraham and Sarah. Just being ‘beyond the normal age’ for child bearing does not mean that a child is not possible. Abraham ‘believed’ and it was credited to him; Zacharias did not ‘believe’.

Now in the case of Mary, although Mary was betrothed to Joseph she was NOT planning on engaging in sexual relations. We know this because of her response to Gabriel. She was perfectly ready and able to accept God’s will but she did not know HOW a child could be born ‘outside’ of normal marital relations, so she was asking basically, "Am I to put aside my vow of virginity? Is this your will, God? How is this to happen SINCE I ‘will not ever’ have relations with a man’?

Therefore, Mary was not disbelieving. Mary was not DOUBTING. Mary was ‘asking how’, not refusing to accept.

Does that help?


Absolutely. Thank you and have a Mary Christmas!


Note that Zacharia’s silencing was also symbolic of the silencing and passing of the Aaronic priesthood. Their time was coming to an end.


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