Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had waited years for children. They were both very old and Elizabeth was not able to have children. Zechariah was a priest. I would like to bet that for many years they had made their requests known to God. If only they could have a child. If only God could grant them that small request.
This was to be Zechariah’s year. As a priest, one thing they would eagerly wait for was to be chosen as the priest to enter the Holy of Holies in the temple. This would have most likely been a once in a lifetime opportunity.
To stand before the very mercy seat of the Lord, what an honor! It would probably not be a far-off guess to suggest that not only did Zechariah do his priestly duties but didn’t waste this opportunity to make his requests known.
If it was not a verbal prayer, it certainly must have been one on his heart because as the worshippers were praying outside, an angel appeared before Zechariah to settle this very matter.
The angel said to him that his wife would bear a son and they were to call him John. There are so many things we could draw out of this story but I want to draw our attention to this boy John.
The one whom Jesus said, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. We often know him for his role as baptizer but his role as leader and messenger were his very calling.
The prophet Malachi spoke of him and his role hundreds of years before he was born. "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:1(NLT)
I am always interested in knowing what this can mean for us? If the Bible is written about someone else in a different time, what does that have to do with me? In everything, show yourself to be an example by doing good works. Titus 2:7a (BSB)
John the Baptist was sent to go before the Lord to make a way for Him. We can look as his good works as an example of faith in action. He had a mission. Make a way for the Lord. John was working for a hope he had not yet seen but one he set his faith in.
We can certainly look to the example of John.
He gave up the comforts of the world to complete his calling. John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. Mark 1:6 (NIV)
He was teaching the people repentance, turning to God and then baptizing them. Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized. Acts 13:24 (NLT)
When questioned about who he was, He pointed to Jesus. John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet: “I am a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” John 1:23 (BSB)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29 (BSB)
“I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” John 1:34 (BSB)
He stepped back and allowed God to take the glory instead of himself. As John was completing his work, he said: 'Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. Acts 13:25 (NIV)
He continued the mission even through suffering and giving up his own life.
How often, for the sake of our calling or for the mission to further God’s kingdom do we even like to get a little uncomfortable? John was a great example of someone sent to fulfill his job and lived it out to the end.
John was faith in action. He pointed people to Jesus. He exalted Him as Lord over all. He taught people the way to repentance and turning toward God and
He stepped back so Jesus could step into His proper place.
Leave us some encouragement below.
What do you think of the story of John? Do any of the parts make you uncomfortable?
Does any of it spur you on to make some changes in your own thinking or mission field?
What part of John’s life do you think we can look to as an example?
Give us some of your ideas of how we can walk out our faith.
Looking Forward to Christmas? Here is a really fun link! It is a list of Christmas songs and Bible verses to reflect on. The 12 Praise of Christmas.
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