Sermon notes 👇
There is a kind of doubt that grows out of disbelief. It is proud and defiant.
It looks inward at itself, in bitterness, and says to God “this can’t be true.”
Maybe that was Zechariah.
But also, there is a doubt that grows out of a humble wonder. It stares upward with awe and says “ I don’t understand God, help me see how this is true.”
That was Mary.
Tim Keller calls this the difference between dishonest doubt and honest doubt.
Dishonest doubt is proud and lazy. It responds to God’s revelation by saying “that’s impossible” - or ‘that’s just silly’ - and then walks away.
Those statements are not arguments, they are just assertions where we refuse to consider anything beyond our limited understanding.
By contrast, honest doubts are humble because they lead you to ask genuine questions - not just put up a defiant wall.
When you ask a real question it puts you in a position of humility and vulnerability.
What if you ask a real question and God gives you an answer?
And what if that answer contradicts you - and shatters your categories - or demands things from you that you feel like you are not ready to give yet?
Honest doubts are open to belief. Honest doubts are doubts where we are open to doubting our doubts - as much as we are open to doubting what is unbelievable.
You see, if you are really asking God from humble doubt for insight into who He is and what He does, He just might give it to you.
Look at what the angel says in verse 37 in response to Mary’s doubt: “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
How much hope is there to be found in that statement? That is a boundless and unending promise from God.
And the reason Mary gets this extra revelation is because Mary asked the doubting question.