I just finished meditating on Matthew 28 yesterday and then skipped to Luke 1 today. I’ve already meditated on these chapters during my quiet time before but one of the new and fresh thing I discovered from my meditation recently are the common words in the messages from God delivered by Angel Gabriel to the three of Lord’s servants namely, Mary Magdalene (together with the other Mary), the priest Zechariah and Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. (Matthew 28:5 NIV)
But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. (Luke 1:13 NIV)
“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:30 NIV)
I noticed that the common phrase used by Angel Gabriel in delivering God’s message was ‘do not be afraid’. And I wonder, why is it that the God’s messenger often use these words when he knows for a fact that he’s delivering a good news to these people?
Then I realized that experiencing God’s miracle as an answer to our prayer can sometimes be overwhelming. Our finite minds often see it as too good to be true and our omnipotent God understands it that’s why He has to give us these four words of caution: do not be afraid.
This is a very timely message for me as well for I am claiming this year as a year of great harvest. I know that this year will be a year when I will see God’s glory in my life more than I have ever imagined or experienced but deep in my heart, I know that I’m scared at the same time. I’m afraid that I’m not ready yet to handle the great things that God will entrust to me this year. I’m afraid that I will fail God, again.
As I continue to meditate on the encounter of the Lord’s servants with the angel, I noticed the different responses of these group of people to the Lord’s calling.
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.(Matthew 28:8 NIV)
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
(Luke 1:18 NIV)
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:38 NIV)
The women who met the angel at Jesus’ tomb hurried away to tell the good news to other disciples, and along the way, they met Jesus Himself. Zechariah responded in unbelief so the Lord made him mute until all the things that the angel had told him came to pass. And Mary embraced her God-given role of becoming the mother of the one and only Savior to fulfill God’s plan of salvation.
Different responses, different results. One responded in unbelief so the Lord has to teach him a lesson the hard way until he finally believes. And the sad truth is I can identify myself more with Zechariah. I often make excuses and doubt if God will really fulfill in my life what He has promised even though God has already said it for so many times…
For no word from God will ever fail. (Luke 1:37 NIV)
So now I want to respond differently. I want to be like Mary who will respond courageously and say ‘I am the Lord’s servant, may the word of God be fulfilled in my life.’ I want to be like the other Marys who will respond immediately and not delay at God’s command. I want to respond in faith and not be afraid.
Lord, I want to believe. Help me with my unbelief.