Talk about role models. Zechariah and Elizabeth, John's parents, are "just" and "blameless" folks, as well as devout Jews who follow "all the commandments and regulations of the Lord" (1:6). They seem to be doing everything right on Luke's terms.
But this cute, old couple isn't getting everything they want in return. For years, they have been petitioning God to do something about the hard fact that Elizabeth is unable to conceive (1:7, 13). Sound familiar? You might be thinking of Rachel's story from way back in Genesis 30.
When the couple's prayers seem to be answered, Zechariah's a little weary of Gabriel's message. Go ahead and read this line with all the skepticism you can muster:
"How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years?" (1:18)
Gettin' sassy, Z. After a brief bout with silence (that's what you get when you talk back to an angel), Zechariah's first words are praise to God and one pretty important—and highly poetic—prophecy that in some circles is called the "Benedictus" (1:67-79).
Elizabeth also goes down in history. She's the very first human being ever to recognize Jesus as Lord, while he's still in Mary's womb. She beats the shepherds, Simeon, Anna, and even Mary herself to the punch. When Mary visits, Elizabeth feels baby Johnny "leap for joy" (1:44) in her womb. In awe she simply asks, "And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?" (1:43).
This is definitely one all-star couple.