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We are called as God’s people to show no partiality, but sometimes we cannot help ourselves. I’m not excusing this when this happens–I’m just stating a reality of our sinful natures. Sadly, we look at people (their clothes, their language, their perceived finances, etc.) and make assumptions about their value and, even more, their usefulness.
We see this here in our lengthy passage for the morning. Some of you know the story, some of you don’t. But I will say this: if you never knew the story and someone told you that one of two people would distrust God’s Word and plan and those two people consisted of a priest of many decades whose job it was to lead the people in the Word and prayer and example and served in a pristine capital city; and the other was a teenage girl with little experience of the world who lived in a backwater town that someone famous asked, “Can anything good come out of here?”–it would be natural for us to say, “Well, the teenager in the rural town would disbelieve. How could someone who preached, prayed, and led for so long and so well disbelieve?”
As you can imagine, God is showing us something here. Both this priest (who goes by the name of Zechariah) and this teenager (Mary) were both needy and both were going to play a critical role in redemptive history. From the very beginning, God launched a plan to, as he said to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “Save his people from their sin.” Now was the time that it would all come to fruition. Both a priest and peasant, a skeptic and a servant, would play this pivotal role.
But God would use them both. One to prepare the Way for their long-awaited Messiah–and the other to bring in the Messiah. They responded to God’s plan very differently, but they ultimately responded well. How will we when God shows up?
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