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13 November 2011

My good friend Luke

It’s that time of the year – my daily Bible readings bring me to the gospel of Luke. It’s my favorite of the gospels because it’s so matter-of-fact.

It’s the time that John the Baptist and Jesus were born. Zacharias was a priest and doing his temple service. He was visited by an angel and told that he would have a son in his old age. But he doubted.

Doubt? How silly is that? Visited by an angel and still he doubts? I’d never do that!

It’s so easy to look at a story and say that I wouldn’t doubt, but is that really the case? I see promises in the Word – do I always believe they are for me? I see prophecies in the Word – and do I always think they are real, or do I try to put a “it’s only allegory” spin on them? I read the Bible and the newspaper, and do I see parallels or coincidences? But I digress….

The old ones, Elizabeth and Zarcharias, are visited by an angel and informed that they are having a baby boy. They are to name him John. The man, the priest, the one who should have known that the angel was serious, doubted and couldn’t talk until he agreed the boy’s name was John (hey wives, how would you like a silent husband for 9 months???)

The young one, Mary, believes the angel, even though she had no husband and the angel told her that her child would be miraculously conceived. Once again, we are reminded that we must have childlike faith like that of Mary, whose “soul gives glory to my God”.

The first chapter of Luke is a glorious story of faith. Faith of two women – one who was old and barren, but knew that God could provide a child if he wanted to – and one who was young and unmarried, but knew that God would provide both a husband and honor to her because of her obedience. And of grudging faith of one old priest – who didn’t really believe that God could provide a son and who had 9 silent months to regret his lack of faith.

Which one am I? Do I see the world clearly through God’s lens, as a child, believe the angel who says “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (1:37)? Or do I have a quiet and mature faith, like Elizabeth, who knew that God would give her the promised son? Or am I more like Zacharias, putting on my religious deeds and acts, saying the right words, but not believing the promises of God?

I think I’m a mixture of all three. How about you?

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