December 12, 2006

Silent Guilt

Luke 1:5-20

"You will be silent and not able to speak ... because you did not believe my words." Luke 1:20


Have you ever visited with someone who has suffered a stroke and can no longer speak? Or perhaps you have suffered a stroke or illness that makes it difficult or impossible to communicate. If so, you can imagine the frustration of Zechariah the priest when he lost his ability to speak.

An angel had come to Zechariah while he was in the temple praying to God on behalf of the people. The angel had said that Zechariah's wife, who was well advanced in years, would have a son. Zechariah didn't believe the angel at first, so his voice was taken away. Then, after his son was born and Zechariah confirmed that the boy's name was to be John, Zechariah's voice was finally restored (Luke 1:59-64).

Besides the frustration of not being able to talk, Zechariah also carried the silent burden of his sin. His silence was the result of his unbelief, and he could not unburden himself by confessing to anyone.

Perhaps you have an unconfessed sin you are carrying in silence. Maybe you have a secret that you cannot bring yourself to share. Part of what makes Zechariah's story so wonderful is that it sets the stage for the coming of Jesus, who makes confession possible. Because of Christ we can confess our sins to God, who forgives us and takes our burden away.

Father in heaven, we thank you that we can freely confess all our sins to you. Thank you for offering us forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ. In his name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Joel Sheeres

Rev. Joel Sheeres is the pastor at First Christian Reformed Church in Crown Point, Indiana. He and his wife, Christine, have three children. Pastor Sheeres has previously served at Faith Christian Reformed Church in Elmhurst, Illinois.

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