Luke 1I'm sure I've read Luke 1 before. I'm sure I have. But it was as if I read it with new eyes this morning.
Zechariah was silenced for questioning the angel,(Lk 1:18, 20) Mary was not.(Lk 1:34) The same angel (Gabriel), the messenger of God, coming and speaking with His authority, spoke to them both. I doubt that the angel had different criteria, because we know that God is consistent.
So why was Zechariah silenced? And not Mary?
I think it must come down to their attitude.
God saw it - and we do not.
He knows what's going on in our hearts and isn't fooled by the outward appearance. It is possible that Zechariah was doubting the message - doubting the answer to prayer - and perhaps he'd have spent the next 9 months or so, ridiculing the whole thing. In a way self cursing himself, his wife and the son to be.
God didn't want that. So he silenced him.
The film Bambi is one of my favourites. There's that scene where little Thumper repeats his mother's teaching. If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all. It's a lesson I've still to learn I'm afraid, though sometimes I realise that I am making progress and that's good!
Mary did question the angel. But I suspect that she wasn't doubtful, just puzzled.
Her attitude to the message was "I am the Lord's servant" - something well worth emulating.
(cross posted at stf)