We might have missed the demo that the people in the Bible…are people. They have plenty of foibles, and at times may have been seen as liars and skeptics.
1 John 1
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
If God is light, and we walk with him, then darkness cannot be found in us, and we will speak truth.
We are liars when we say we walk with God but don’t care for our brothers in realtime.
When we say we are perfect and have no need for forgiveness, we deceive ourselves, and in effect label God a liar.
1 John 2
7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
9 If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. 10 Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. 11 But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.
Point: Light reveals. Stay honest and true to how God sees you, how he made you, and how he created you to reach out to others in love. There is an immense focus placed on our truthful lives in Christ and caring for our fellow man/woman.
Now for 2 Questions:
Zechariah and Elizabeth
11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
Despite living a life entirely devoted to his belief system, in work, earnings, and time. When confronted by an angel, AN ANGEL, Zechariah asks for insurance to be sure that his son was really going to happen. In the middle of a startling, transformational encounter, ol’ Zeke wants proof.
In short: he was skeptical that anything was truly going to happen if he believed the angel. Maybe it was the long hours of devotion while not seeing miracles that had led him to ask this question. No matter the source, however,
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary and Zeke asked the angel the same question: How? Their answers are incredibly human, revealing not scathing, but foundational skepticism. Questioning circumstance is not bad, in fact I encourage it. Yet Zeke and Mary were confronted by Gabriel.
It seems to me that these iconic Biblical characters really were…people. They bled, cried, questioned. They wanted to know the step-by-step process/explanation for how these promises would take place. In both instances of questioning, the Holy Spirit was causing things to happen that no one could dictate, nor direct. Each child would be heavily influenced by the Holy Spirit.
First and foremost, knowing that God is certainly not a liar, that he sees mankind for who he really is, we can trust his actions and movements. Secondly, nothing is impossible for God to accomplish.
Matthew 5:16: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.
When it comes to loving our neighbors, there is a distinct correlation to staying true to who you are in God, being unashamed about your actions in love, and allowing God to work in someone’s heart. God’s spirit can do so much when we allow it to work without our micromanagement. Usually we micromanage something because we want to be sure that a certain task gets accomplished. We don’t believe that something will happen without our insurance, and without our input.
Prayer: God help our disbelief. Holy Spirit, do all you need to, and help us to trust that you will connect all of the dots that need to be connected. At the times when you promise, and speak life into us, placing transformational experiences before each of us tailor-made to suit our lives…help us to not question you. Help us to trust you.