Summary: A biographical narative contrasting and comparing Zechariah and Mary calling individuals to commit themselves to examining one part of their lives each day this week – asking if they trust God enough to pray “Thy will be done.”
Title: Enough Faith in God to Submit
Theme: Submissive Faith
Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness calling God’s people in my care to trust Go enough to submit to His plan for their lives.
Response: Individuals will commit themselves to examining one part of their lives each day this week – asking if they trust God enough to pray “Thy will be done.”
Jerry Adler writes in Newsweek:
[Carl] Sagan was fascinated by the phenomenon that educated adults, with the wonders of science manifest all around them, could cling to beliefs based on the unverifiable testimony of observers dead for 2000 years. "You’re so smart, why do you believe in God?" he once exclaimed to [clergywoman Joan Brown] Campbell. She found this a surprising question from someone who had no trouble accepting the existence of black holes, which no one has ever observed. "You’re so smart, why don’t you believe in God?" she answered....
Sagan never wavered in his agnosticism.
"There was no deathbed conversion," [his wife Ann] Druyan says. "No appeals to God, no hope for an afterlife, no pretending that he and I, who had been inseparable for 20 years, were not saying goodbye forever."
Didn’t he want to believe? She was asked.
"Carl never wanted to believe," she replies fiercely. "He wanted to know."
Citation: Jerry Adler, Newsweek (3-31-97), 64-65. © 2000 PreachingToday.com/Christianity Today, Inc.
ZECHARIAH AND MARY WERE BOTH VISITED BY THE ANGEL GABRIEL.
He came to each one with a message from God.
ZECHARIAH WAS AN OLD, MARRIED MAN.
His wife’s name was Elizabeth and she could not have children. They both were members of Israel’s clan of priests. Zechariah and Elizabeth were both very conscientious in their obedience to God’s laws.
MARY WAS A YOUNG, UNMARRIED WOMAN.
Mary was a cousin to Elizabeth and although technically single she was engaged to marry a carpenter named Joseph. She was a virgin.
ZECHARIAH WAS IN THE TEMPLE WHEN GABRIEL VISITED HIM.
The priests took turns working in the Temple in Jerusalem. This city was the Lord’s city – the center of worship for all God’s people. If anyone wanted to meet with God they went to the Temple in Jerusalem.
One of the special tasks involved entering the Most Holy Room to burn incense as the people prayed outside. Zechariah was chosen to perform this task. While he was in that special place, Gabriel delivered God’s message.
MARY WAS IN THE VILLAGE OF NAZARETH IN GALILEE.
Nazareth was a small, obscure village. It was never mentioned in the history books of God’s people. Galilee was the name of this region in northern Israel. It was considered a spiritually dark place. No one would think of seeking God in Nazareth – but that’s where Gabriel met Mary.
ZECHARIAH AND MARY WERE BOTH STARTLED AND FRIGHTENED BY GABRIEL’S SURPRISING APPEARANCE.
When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. Gabriel’s greeting distressed Mary.
GABRIEL TOLD ZECHARIAH THAT ELIZABETH WOULD SOON BE PREGNANT.
After all the years of praying and longing and trying to have a child, a son was on the way! Everything that had never worked for them in their marriage was being changed. Their love for each other was producing a baby that God planned to use.