Last week’s post – finally! I will post this week’s post tomorrow when I return to civilization and internet access.
Luke 1:20, Matthew 26:63 & Luke 19:40
From the third word in this week’s reading and throughout the entire week God has sprinkled a message of speech before our eyes. In Leviticus 19:1 The LORD spoke to Moses: “Speak to the entire Israelite community and tell them: Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”
And again in the first chapter of Luke we come upon Zechariah who’s faculty of speech is taken away due to his disbelief! The angel Gabriel said to him, “You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time” (verse 20). As I read this verse I was reminded of the piece I wrote about the fall of Jericho and the role silence played. In order to stave off the birth of Unbelief and Doubt, Joshua commanded the people: “Do not shout or let your voice be heard. Don’t let one word come out of your mouth until the time I say, ‘Shout!’ Then you are to shout” (Joshua 6:10).
John 1:1-5 says that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.”
Words are spoken. This entire world began its existence with God the Father speaking, commanding, “Light be”… and instantly according to His command there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.
Words contain within them tremendous power.
And when someone who houses the Holy Spirit within them speaks a word, any word, that word has the power of life and death. (See the entire book of James!) Solomon the wise wrote a few words on the ebb and flow of life I’d like to share with you:
There is occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven:
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot;
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
A time to search and a time to count as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away;
A time to tear and a time to sew;
A time to be silent and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
What does the worker gain from his struggles? I have seen the task that God has given people to keep them occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
My friends, there is a time to speak and wield those words of power, and there is a time to clamp that mouth shut and hold them all in. Zechariah had voiced enough doubt before that angel who stood in the presence of God daily to let Gabriel know that Zechariah couldn’t be trusted to keep his big doubting mouth shut. So Gabriel shut it for him – saving the prophecy from an untimely death. And what happened when John was born and christened John? Zechariah’s mouth sprang open and he SHOUTED amazing blessings upon that child! There is a time for silence, but there is also a time for shouting.
I was curious about this particular Greek word that Luke used for Zechariah’s silence so I looked it up. It’s the Greek word, see-oh-poh, and it refers to a kind of forced silence as opposed to a voluntary kind of silence. Zechariah is the perfect example of this kind of silence. However there are a few more instances in the New Testament that this particular Greek word is used that I found quite interesting. One is in Matthew 26:63 and the other is in Luke 19:39-40. We’ll take a look at the verse in Matthew first and it will lead us straight to our verse in Luke so watch for it. 😀
In Matthew chapter twenty-six we find Jesus having been captured from the Garden of Gethsemane and a trial being held in order to find Him guilty of anything they can find to pin on Him and get to stick. They bring forward false witness after false witness to no avail until two came forward and stated, “This man said, ‘I can demolish God’s sanctuary and rebuild it in three days.'” The high priest then stood up and said to Him, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent.
There are times to speak, and there are times to just be still and let the Truth set you free!
That night in that darkened courtroom a Light shone bright and the darkness couldn’t overcome it. In the beginning God said, “Light be” and the Light was, is and still is today. That night in the courtroom they found Jesus guilty of none other than Blaspheme, a sin punishable by death. A sin that, “coincidentally” enough, we read about in our readings this week. Leviticus 24 shares a story of a man who blasphemed, this is what the LORD had to say about his punishment: “Bring the one who has cursed to the outside of the camp and have all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then have the whole community stone him.”
Laying their hands on his head transfers his sin against them back to him. Yet here we have Jesus who is without sin. So what is it that happens when we lay our hands on His head? Our sins, our guilt, our shame, it ALL transfers over to His head where He takes the punishment for the crimes we committed. In Leviticus the LORD spoke to Moses: “Speak to the entire Israelite community, everyone who will HEAR, and tell them: Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” And yet here we are today with our hands on the head of a Saviour and once again the LORD speaks and says, “Be holy. Because I the LORD your God am holy!”
My friends, there is a time to be silent and there is a time to SHOUT! And this is a time to SHOUT for I tell you, if you keep silent about this the very stones in the fields will cry out!!!! (See Luke 19:39-40, I told you it would come around!) Jesus has transferred His holiness onto your head! He has taken the guilt and the shame from you. He has removed the cause for Fear and Doubt and Concern! He is LORD. He is LIGHT. He is GOD! Rejoice and be glad in this day that He has made for you.
Next week’s :