Feb 5

Rev Gav

Comedy

Would you challenge an angel? Zechariah did. Check out Luke 1:18.

Luke 1:18

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.

One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.

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.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long. 22 When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary.

23 When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”

Reflect

Liz and Zechariah were too old to have children and yet an angel had just told Zechariah that they were going to have a baby, that the long-awaited Messiah and rescuer of the world was coming, and that their baby would grow up to be the greatest prophet that had ever lived, but then Zechariah did a crazy thing; he pretty much interrupted the angel to tell him that he had got it wrong. If there was one thing you did not tell a frightening messenger from God, it was that he had made a boo boo, but Zechariah did.

I do not know whether I find this part of the story encouraging or not! Despite all the great and wonderful words the angel had used, Zechariah was locked into the physical reality of himself and his situation. It was as if he was looking down rather than up, was not seeing the possibilities, and was unable to see himself as being part of this amazing story. It is pretty discouraging, however, on the other hand it is immensely encouraging because Zechariah was acting so very human! This ordinary man who was open to God got chosen by God, and rather than being all religious and self-congratulatory, said, “Me? Yeah, right?” He was normal, and it gives me great encouragement because it means that God uses normal people, like me, and like you.

Do you think that God might use you? Would you doubt like Zechariah? Well, be encouraged. When you open your life to God and when you say, “Come in and use me,” God does.

Do

Today, open yourself to serving God. Be honest about your doubts, but also tell God that you are available for his mission in the world.

Pray

Holy God
Right now I’m open to you.
Forgive me for doubting
that you would pick me for your team,
but come into my life and use me;
my skills, my time and my talents,
to further your mission in the world.
This day and for ever.
Amen.

Think

1. Do you think it’s okay to find bits of the Bible amusing or funny?

2. Why does it surprise you that the first character we meet in Luke’s gospel has doubts?

Lisa-Dawn Johnston Feb 13 15:53pm

I loved reading this scripture through your lens. When I read this before, I commented that it was nice to see that we don’t age out of God’s purpose (or something like that). But your insight reminded me that God uses ordinary, doubting HUMANS…. US! And that is reassuring on many levels… because he deems us worthy, because he sees us, because we see that he is real!
And as for humour in the Bible? Absolutely it’s ok! It’s important! Humour is one of our many emotions- and since the others are certainly present in the Bible. So should humour! It should also be present because there is some heavy reading in the Bible, and the humour gives us comic relief and respite. Humour is also an effective teacher. Three of my Favourite laugh out loud moments in the Bible:

1. When Moses comes down from the mountain with the 10 commandments and sees the Israelites partying and worshipping the golden calf… Moses- “Aaron! WTF is going on (Moses flings down the tablets in anger) Aaron - “they gave me the gold…I threw it in the fire- and out came this bull calf ! 🐂 🤷🏽‍♂️

2. Jonah tried his best to outrun God- and after enduring all sorts of ordeals, he grudgingly delivers the prophecy- in 7 words!!! The equivalent of- “You wicked people are going to die!” Mic drop 🎤! I can see him strolling off stage left now 😅

3. The  disciples/brothers swindling people to do an exorcism…then being chased out of the house by the demon possessed man who gave all of them a beat down they wouldn’t soon forget! - they escaped buck naked, terrified, running for their lives… that demon tore their a&@$$ up!🤣

bottom line… I remember those stories and their messages because of the humour.
Thanks for making me laugh today! 🤭

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