In Luke 1, we get the account of the events leading up to the arrival of Christ on earth. The priest Zechariah receives the promise from an angel that his wife will conceive a son. That son will be the prophet to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.
In the conversation between Zechariah and the angel, the old priest asks a question. IN some ways, it looks similar to a question that Mary asks the same angel in the same chapter, “How will these things be?” But Mary gets a simple answer from the angel while Zechariah actually receives a rebuke. Why?
Luke 1:18-20 – 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”
Why did Zechariah’s question get a harsh response? He did not believe. The bottom line problem was that Zechariah was asking out of doubt.
This leads to a very important biblical point. It is a point that we know in our heads as Christians, but which we somehow fail to see in its full light. Unbelief is a big deal.
You see, even when I say to you that unbelief is a big deal, it does not make you stop and think very much. On the one hand, you think, “I know that.” On the other, you do not let it go deep. To refuse to believe the Lord is a sin that is as ultimately insulting to the Lord who made you as any possible sin. Every other sin that mankind commits comes out of a lack of basic faith that God is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do.
Consider the fact that salvation from our sin comes to us by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We are saved when we believe in such a way that it leads to repentance. True faith in Christ always results in salvation. What then is to be said of a lack of belief? A lack of belief leads to judgment. To refuse to believe in the Lord is a huge deal.
The word of God is clear through all of its pages that to trust in the Lord leads to life. To ignore the Lord or to not believe him leads to destruction. May we ask the Lord to help us trust him more. May we realize that nothing is actually more important than to believe, genuinely believe, in the God who made us and in his Son he sent to save us. And nothing is more of an attempt to rebel against the Lord than to determine that we will not acknowledge his existence.