I have always been fascinated with the difference between Mary's faith, and Zechariah's lack of it. When Gabriel, the angel, visited Mary, he found a girl whose heart was full of faith, and ready to believe whatever God had sent him to tell her (Luke 1: 26-38). Gabriel told her that she would give birth to the Son of God. She asked in wonder how this could happen. He explained how the Spirit of God would come upon her. “Nothing is impossible with God!” Gabriel declared. Mary immediately and without hesitation said yes.
Then there is Zachariah, the Priest. A few months earlier he was also
visited by Gabriel and informed that his barren wife, Elizabeth, would
have a baby. Zachariah was a man of the law, and supposedly attuned to
God’s voice, but he had trouble believing God’s angel (Luke 1:11-20). He
too, like Mary, asked how it could happen, but there was a great
difference in their perspective. Mary asked with trust and faith.
Gabriel asked with questioning doubt. When Gabriel explained to Mary how
God would use her, she was in awe of God’s majesty. Zachariah was
struck silent because he had trouble believing in something beyond what
his own mind could conceive.
An ordinary village girl had
more faith in God than a priest! So many times it is easier for a person
who has had a new and moving experience with God to exhibit greater
faith than a person who has forgotten the miracle of his own changed
heart. Mary’s innocent faith believed in the impossible. It was not
compromised by the religious attitudes of man or the human explanations
of Pharisees. Her faith needed no explanation for Gabriel’s miraculous
Are our hearts full of Mary’s kind of innocent
faith, or, like Zachariah, has tradition dulled the luster? God desires
each of our hearts to be as Mary’s—easily moved by the Holy Spirit. He
longs for us to always have a heart of faith to believe in the miracle
of His message and a heart to believe it without explanation.
When God sends His message to us, how do we receive it? Do we analyze
it, or do we accept it by faith? Do we say yes to its call, or do we,
just as Zachariah, refuse to believe its truth? Do we have faith to
believe or will we be struck dumb because of our lack of it?
Expectant with her miracle, Mary found her priorities would change. Are
we open to be changed by God, or are our hearts, like Zachariah,
unmoved by the Holy Spirit? I never want to forget the miracle of my own
changed heart. And I pray that I will continually be changed, forever
open, and always expecting God's message to mold my life.
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