James Tissot (Nantes, France, 1836–1902, Chenecey-Buillon, France). Portrait of Zacharias and Elizabeth
Jeremiah 23: 5-8
Psalm 72: 11-1
The gospel of Matthew harkens here to the Old Testament where Elizabeth, wife to a temple priest, Zechariah, was barren and had longed for a child their whole married life. She was granted this plea through the angel Gabriel, sent from God, who appeared to the terrified Zechariah with the good news.
This favour came at a price when Zechariah displayed his doubts and was struck dumb by Gabriel. Elizabeth’s pregnancy came to term and when their baby was born, the waiting was over. Zechariah’s tongue was loosened when they named their son John as instructed, rejoicing with family and friends. God has often used the unbelieving amongst us to work his will on earth.