2021_07_07 Insight Post- Rusty Coram
This week's reading- Luke 1
I love reading Luke. As we read through his biography of Jesus, we will learn about how God understands, and relates to all kinds of people. In chapter 1 we see Gabriel, God’s messenger angel, approach two people and announce the special work God would be doing through them. Both Zechariah and Mary are faithful followers of God, but neither is famous or extra-ordinary.
Zechariah is a priest among many thousands of other priests. His work in the Temple was important to the people’s worship, but he was just one of many. In fact, his section of priests only served the temple two weeks out of the year, so most had secular employment as well. The day that the angel visited him was special because Zechariah had the privilege of offering the incense in worship. The person selected to play that role was decided by random chance (humanly speaking) by casting a lot. His faithful service in an ordinary week, led to a once in a lifetime opportunity to burn incense in the sanctuary (many priests never got to do this) but, even more importantly, it led to a face to face with God’s messenger.
We don’t know the circumstances where Mary met Gabriel a few months later. She may have been praying, cooking or getting water at the local well – more than likely it was during ordinary daily activity or it would have been specified what she was doing. What we do learn is that Mary was ready to listen and follow. The difference in their responses to Gabriel were significant – Zechariah questioned the validity of the message, but Mary just asked how God would make it happen. Being honest, I would probably have responded more like Zechariah!
The main thing here is that both of these faithful followers were going about their normal daily responsibilities when they encountered God’s messenger. This should be a reminder that even our normal faithfulness is not missed by God, or seen as insignificant. It reminds me of what Jesus said later in Luke, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10 (NLT)