Let me tell you a story about a small island in the South Seas inhabited by a group of people who had very little contact with the outside world. Theirs was a beautiful island – lush vegetation, wonderfully sweet-tasting fruit, and many domesticated animals good for eating. It was a tropical paradise.
But many others took advantage of the beauty. Over the years, many ships would land on the shores, unload its decks of pirates and thieves, and would fill its holds with plunder, looted from the island. Many beautiful island ladies found themselves stolen for pirates’ pleasures, many young children kidnapped to become pirates’ servants. Many animals, much fruit found their way uninvited to pirates’ galleys, leaving a terrorized people behind in the wake.
For many years this went on, until the islanders moved inland. Every set of sails on the horizon brought fear to the hearts of the natives, and they eventually moved their homes inland, away from thieving eyes.
Well, it turns out that the island was not an island – it was a dormant volcano, unknown to the natives. Seismologists from around the world picked up small tremors on their instruments, and discovered that the volcano would soon erupt. The volcano would send lava over the whole island, dooming everything there. Rumors had been heard years before of a hidden tribe of people on that island, and the scientists rushed to save the lives of the tribe.
Soon, a ship was sent to pick up the islanders and move them to a safe island. But when the ship arrived, they found no-one. The ship sailed away with no islanders on board.
Then a helicopter was sent. It flew over the island, but it too saw nothing, and flew off.
Each time a contact came from the outside world, it left empty-handed. Because, each time the islanders, very much alive and well, heard or saw something, they ran and hid in their well-concealed village. Years of visits from wicked outsiders brought such a terror into the hearts of the islanders, that they hid at even the peaceful outsiders.
And it’s sad, that the messenger, meant to bring news that would save them, was still rejected due to fear. Such was the case with Zechariah [or Herod]. He was afraid of the messenger, the angel, bringing good news to him and to the rest of the world.
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