Thursday, January 26, 2017

Finding His Voice

"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force." - Matthew 11:12 ESV

Some very interesting stuff in the Greek for this passage. 'Suffered violence' is biaz┼Ź (Strong's G971) and it could be translated 'crowds into' like shoppers streaming into a store for a sale.

The same word is used here...

"The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it." - Luke 16:16 ESV

John came on the scene and God used him even before he was born to stir things up.

"But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.' And Zechariah said to the angel, 'How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.' 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. 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.' And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute." - Luke 1:13-22 ESV

It makes me think of how God invades people's lives with divine ideas and those ideas displace something which causes discomfort. The angel said, 'You will be happy when the boy is born.' and it was a prophetic statement. But that man was old in his thinking and the kingdom of God was rushing in all of a sudden. He became mute but the muteness was an external manifestation of his internal state. Later he recognized God's work.

"And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, 'No; he shall be called John.' And they said to her, 'None of your relatives is called by this name.' And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, 'His name is John.' And they all wondered." - Luke 1:59-63 ESV

Naturally speaking things were about to happen but Zechariah suddenly found his voice. It took time but it happened.

That is happening all around the world today. Seeds have been planted that are suddenly sprouting. We can plant more today. The Gospel is a forceful seed that declares God's love and invades a person's life.

I remind myself because I want to be conscious of it. What we see by sight at first isn't the end. God has a plan. We carry the Spirit and the Spirit carries us. If we are Spirit filled then the Spirit Is rushing into the room when we walk in. If that is true then wonderful things are about to happen because of the message we convey. There will be reaction but in the end there will be joy and laughter.

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