The Taser's Edge

Zechariah the Unhappy Sadducee

Related to today’s earlier post, in the past couple days I have looked over the story of John the Baptist’s miraculous conception in Luke 1, and then last night, the small group Holly and I lead did a lectio divina reading (it’s not redundant if it’s two different languages lenguajes) of Luke 1:39-45.

One of those fun and funny things about Scripture…although I had read this passage a bunch of times, it was not until last night in our small group that I thought about the fact that if Zechariah was a priest, then there was a strong statistical chance (although not certainty) that he belonged to the Sadducees. If he was an ‘orthodox’ Sadducee, then he didn’t believe in angels.  Except then one showed up to him.  All this to say, perhaps there’s more to Zechariah’s fear (v. 12–“Zechariah was troubled when saw him, and fear fell upon him”) and then disbelief in Gabriel’s words (v. 20–“you will be silent and unable to speak…because you did not believe my words”) than we usually recognize.

Maybe Zechariah’s not just having trouble believing.  Maybe the angel of the Lord has messed up his world.  (That’s how you know it’s really the angel of the Lord.)

"Zechariah and Gabriel." Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1851-60. Engraving.

And because this site was so helpful, another great artistic rendering of the scene:

From St. Alban's Psalter, 12th c.