“In the Bible . . . there is a kind of doubt that is the sign of a closed mind, and there is a kind of doubt that is the sign of an open mind. Some doubt seeks answers, and some doubt is a defense against the possibility of answers.”- Timothy Keller
“The angel went to [Mary] and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”- Luke 1:28-29 (NIV)
In Chapter 5 (“Mary’s Faith”) of Hidden Christmas, Timothy Keller talks about the wealth of information Luke provides about Mary’s response to the incarnation. Because Pastor Keller believes Luke wanted to hold Mary up as a model of responsive Christian faith.
First, Mary responds thoughtfully. Hence, the word ‘wondered’ in Luke 1:29 seems a poor choice. For the Greek word in the text is an accounting word, meaning ‘to make an audit.’ As a result, Mary added things up, weighed and pondered them. An intensely rational behavior. Therefore, Mary doesn’t immediately accept the angel’s message. Rather, Mary’s reply shows us that responding in faith is a whole-person experience.
So, Mary doubted, questioned, used her reason, and asked questions. Just as we must do today in order to develop our faith. Mary took an open stance toward the truth. Thus, she relinquished sovereignty over her life when shown that the truth was other than what she thought. In contrast, others use doubt as a tool to maintain control of their lives and keep their minds closed.
In conclusion, Pastor Keller notes, Mary shattered the barriers she faced against belief in the Christmas message. She did so via a combination of evidence and experience – and came to faith.
Today’s question: Do you agree that some doubt seeks answers, and some doubt defends against the possibility of answers? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: Incredible – the Christmas message”