Today’s readings.. (2 Kings 15) (Ezekiel 5), (Luke 1)
Today we began reading the Gospel of Luke. A chain reaction in our thoughts was triggered by the dramatic appearance of an angel to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. All the people were “praying without at the hour of incense” Presumably this was the ninth hour: we recall that Peter and John went up into the temple at the ninth hour the hour of prayer (Acts 3 v.1) Dramatic things sometimes happen when people pray. As I type this it is 9 am – but it is also the 9th day of the month, a month which is the 9th month of the year. In this evil world we need times of prayer more than ever,
When Jesus was dying on the cross there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour when he died (Matt.27:45) – and we realize that the 9th hour to the Jew was 3 pm. We live in a world in which there is now spiritual darkness as to the meaning of life and the reality of God. At some point that darkness will be dramatically lifted, but then, those who have not seen the light will find it is too late – the door will be shut as in the parable of Jesus (Matt 25 v10).
Zachariah was struck dumb and mute – he was told his prayer had been heard, but as he did not really believe it was not until 9 months had passed and the babe was born did he get the ability to speak again. Then God used him as a witness that made all the people marvel. (Luke 1 v.65) and the event was talked about everywhere.
So this chapter is about the drama of God’s intervention in the normal course of events – and the affect it had – the greatest of which is the faith of Mary the mother to be of Jesus and the wonderful words she uttered.
We are now living at the eleventh hour, and the appeal to us is as when Jesus talks of “the eleventh hour” – let us respond to what he said [Matt. 20 v.6], for our Master is looking for those who are ready to put their hands to the plough in “the eleventh hour.”
In contrast there was no one willing to give any thought towards God at the time Ezekiel was writing. We read today, God’s complaint, you: “have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rule” [Ch.5 v.7].. In contrast to Ezekiel what a wonderful message Luke has for us for the rest of this month: may we be inspired to obey..