[Aug 02]--Origins

Luke 1:11-25

One of my favorite characters in the Bible is John the Baptist. We can learn a lot from him, especially from the examples of his life. Jesus himself said that “among those born of women there is no one greater than John,” so probably it'd behoove us to examine him for a few days. The only issue is that his story is scattered among various places in the Gospels, so we have to skip around quite a bit.

Today we’ll look at his origins. Actually, this man’s arrival was predicted several hundred years ago. Mal. 4:5 predicted that “Elijah” would be sent before the arrival of the Messiah, and according to Jesus, Malachi was referring to John.

God had been silent for about four hundred years. It'd been that long since the recorded prophecies of Malachi, and lots of people were waiting for the Messiah to arrive, kill all the Romans, and set up God’s kingdom on earth and thus fulfill all the promises made through the prophets. God finally broke the silence with this man Zechariah, and in a big way.

What do we know about John’s father? He and his wife were godly people, trying to obey God’s law as best they could. But his wife Elizabeth was barren, and they were both past the age of child-bearing. But Zechariah was a priest, and his number had finally come up for him to do his duties in the temple. While he was there, an angel came to announce the birth of Zechariah’s son. And what a son he would be!

He faltered in his faith for a bit, and the angel (speaking as God’s representative) rebuked him and subjected him to a mild punishment. Since he didn’t believe the Lord’s words, he wouldn’t have any of his own until the promise was fulfilled and the son was born.

There are a lot of things promised about this son. He'd be great in the sight of the Lord, he'd be filled with the Holy Spirit from the earliest point in his life, and he'd go on “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” who was considered one of the greatest prophets ever. And what was the ultimate goal here? What was the great purpose in his life? “. . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

So what does this mean for us? What can we draw from this? First, we should know that even though God has seemed to be silent for a while, that doesn’t mean he’s not at work “behind the scenes.” Second, his timing is perfect. Zechariah and Elizabeth had been waiting for years for the Lord to give them a child, and it seemed like it was too late for them. Not so! As this same angel told Mary (when announcing an even more miraculous birth) “Nothing will be impossible with God.” If we just trust him, he'll break into our supposedly hopeless circumstances at just the right time and do something we never expected.

Father God, your timing and purposes are way beyond me, but I need to trust you. With your help, I will.

No comments:

Post a Comment