Zechariah, Meet Gabriel

Luke 1:11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

So Zechariah the priest is minding his own business by himself in the Temple…

And there appeared… ὁράω/horaó in the Greek. Defined, the term means to see or intently stare. Imagine being by yourself and a being shows up out of thin air. One might lock in on what is being seen.

Luke 1:12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.

Let’s look at the description of Zechariah when he realized the angel later to be identified as Gabriel.

We have the benefit of knowing Zechariah is meeting Gabriel. Zechariah will find this out later in the conversation.

Luke 1:19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

Zechariah was troubled or ταράσσω/tarassó. It could also mean to be stirred up or agitated.

Zechariah was overwhelmed or seized with fear or φόβος/phobos. The word can be defined as panic flight, fear, the causing of fear, terror. In English, we get the word “phobia” from the Greek.

Zechariah and the virgin Mary have the same initial response to Gabriel. The same Greek terms are used. Both were stirred up and scared.

Gabriel, for his part, has the same response to both Zechariah and Mary. He tells both of them to not be afraid and he calls them by name.

Luke 1:13a But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah…

Luke 1:30a And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary

Likely to Zechariah’s surprise, the being knows his name and his wife’s name Elizabeth. Then Gabriel shares some information with Zechariah. You are going to be a father and you are going to name the child John.

Luke 1:13b …and you shall call his name John.

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