The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

John the Baptist: Luke 1:5-25


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One Reply to “The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold”

  1. The birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah and Elizabeth is a story of faithful people, patiently doing their duties. Zechariah was a priest and Elizabeth a descendant of Aaron. An angel appears to Zechariah to let him know that Elizabeth will have a child, their prayers have been heard (Luke 1:13). The angel is none other than Gabriel. Zechariah questioned the angel’s words, so Gabriel revealed his identity and told Zechariah he would not be able to speak until the child was born. Note to self, when an angel tells you something, it’s best to listen. Zechariah returns home and Elizabeth became pregnant (1:24).

    When Gabriel make his proclamation, he adds a few details: 1) his name will be John, “and you are to call him John” (1:13) and 2) “He is never to take wine or other fermented drink” (1:15). John will be given a special gift, “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born” (1:15b). Amazing! Further, his preaching will save many. The quote is worth reading a few times:

    He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hears of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:16-17

    Even before his birth, plans were set in motion, his path was established. There’s no indication that I’ve seen that this was anything less than joyful. Zechariah and Elizabeth were such faithful servants and God honored their faithfulness at a time with the Israelites really needed some good news. By now, it had been hundreds of years since Elijah; they only had stories and celebrations to remind them of the power of God. It must have seemed distant to them, difficult to remain faithful. But many persevered and stuck to their faith. Some, no doubt, got it wrong. We call these the Pharisees and Saducees. We know from reading further that they had created a system that put religion above God, or at least in between the people and their Lord. The timing of the birth of Jesus and his ministry was perfectly established to reach these people. We are the benefactor of their honorable service.

    It’s hard to appreciate decades, generations, scores of years that pass between events in the Bible. Last night I had dinner with friends I met over 30 years ago, yet we have a bond that, for some reason, was cast solidly in Christ. True friends are few. I’m very thankful for Joe and Debbie. It helps to appreciate the patience of those who faithfully serve Christ.

    This week I’m at a huge church planting conference, Exponential, in Tampa, Florida. Thousands are gathered to spur each other on in the great battle for God’s greater purpose here and across the world. So many are filled with the Holy Spirit. The sense is impossible to put into words. Called to serve Christ as Zechariah and Elizabeth were so long ago. Called, but yet we must be patient and serve as we are called. Lord help us to hear clearly that voice and help us not to question your direction.


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