Sometimes we think God is a bit unfair. Zechariah, for example, is visited by an angel to tell him he will miraculously have a son, he questions it, and is told off and struck dumb. Mary is visited by an angel who tells her she will miraculously have a Son, she questions it, and she is told how wonderful she is and she becomes Blessed amongst women! But as usual when we look carefully at what God does, his reasoning is as usual impeccable. Mary’s question is But how can this come about, since I am a virgin? This is a reasonable question: I am not married, and I have a serious boyfriend, so what exactly do you mean? This is not what Zechariah asks. Rather he says, How can I be sure of this? Zechariah’s problem is not that he raises the natural state of affairs – but rather that, despite being God’s own priest, despite being the very priest chosen to offer sacrifice on behalf of all the people that day, and despite having an angel standing in front of him sent personally by God, he’s saying he’s not sure God can be trusted.
This is pretty relevant because often we hear people say If God would appear to me, I would believe. No you wouldn’t. Even Zechariah didn’t. The question for each of us is: are we willing to say to God, God, I want to believe but I can’t – please help me believe in you. And to take time to apply our intelligence to what Jesus taught and did in order to evaluate the validity of his truth claims. So let us pray for that humility today – that the Lord reveals his love for us to out heart, and that he helps our heart to be moved by that. Amen.