READ : Luke 1:18-23
And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time. (v. 20 NIV)
Zechariah’s response to the angel’s good news was audacious—not the audacity of hope, but the audacity of unbelief. “How can I be sure of this?” I know the facts of life. I’m at the end of my rope. How can I/anyone be sure of God’s Word in our world today?
The angel rises up to his full celestial height and rebukes Zechariah’s pre/post-modern uncertainty. He takes away the speech of this man who can’t accept the truth, but he doesn’t take away the truth. Contrary to some of the nonsense we hear on religious TV these days, God is fully able to keep his promises in spite of our unbelief.
When we are at the end of our rope, God is able and willing to do the unexpected. God’s Word is more powerful than our word. Yes, God wants us to believe, and he honors our faith. But he often overrides our lack of faith, precisely to build our faith.
So, having been rebuked and reassured, Zechariah makes his signs, finishes his term of duty, and then goes home to make a baby—quite an act of faith for an old man and his barren wife. Hmmm! It must be that God can do far more than we can ask or even imagine (Eph. 3:20).
Lord, help us to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Amen.