Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 1, Luke 1: Preparing for Jesus' arrival

DAY 1 - Preparing for Jesus' Arrival
Date: 25 Oct 2011

Two questions. Two responses. Different results.

I am very intrigued as I read about the way Luke begins the gospel. Unlike John which begins with a reflection to Genesis 1, or Matthew which starts with a detailed genealogy of the Jewishness of Jesus, and Mark which starts abruptly with a quote from Isaiah, Luke begins with an eyewitness account of two angels appearing to two persons, prior to the birth of John and Jesus. The first appearance is to Zacharias, where the angel of the Lord says:

"Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John." (Luke 1:13)

Zacharias then asks: "How shall I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." (Lk 1:18)

As a result of that question, the angel strikes dumb the lips of Zacharias because he 'did not believe.'

In contrast, when the angel appears to Mary, and says:

"Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus." (Luke 1: 30-31)

When Mary responds with: "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" she is spared.

Why are there seemingly similar questions posed back to the angel, but different results? Why is Zacharais struck dumb, and not Mary?

On closer look, it is about faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Zacharias in his reply to the angel, wants signs and proofs that the angel will do what is promised. Zacharias is more concerned with 'what is the proof?' Mary on the other hand, is simply concerned about the 'how.' One is looking for evidence, while the other is looking for illumination. Zacharias questions in such a way that it smirks of  skeptical doubts. Mary asks humbly as one that is honestly curious and accepts the word in faith.

How about us? When we read the word of God, do we question the word skeptically? Or do we accept the Word in faith, and let this be demonstrated in obedience?

Thought: The person of God is a person of faith.


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