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Are you like Zacharias or Mary?

As recorded in the book of Luke, God gave his word to Zacharias (the father of John the Baptist) and to Mary (the mother of Jesus) came through the angel Gabriel. Each heard God's words and asked a question. Their questions open up windows into their hearts, and help us learn something about our own hearts.

The angel Gabriel tells Zacharias that his wife will bear a son, and Zacharias asks a question:

And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Luke 1:18-20

The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will have a son, and she also asks a question:

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:34-35

God's words were very difficult to reconcile with what both Zacharias and Mary understood at that time. Zacharias asked how he could know that God's word was true but Mary believed God's word and simply wanted to know how it would be fulfilled. God dealt very differently with each of them based upon their hearts’ attitudes. Here we see a great principle:

When we come across passages in God’s word that to our limited understanding seem difficult to believe or even appear to be in conflict with other passages, it is always best to do as Mary did – simply believe what God has said is true and ask him to help us understand how it is true.

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