| Jim and Sheila Anderson read Luke 1:57-66 | Benjamin J Nichols sings Wake, Awake for Night is Flying | Ben shares a meditation on John the Baptist |
When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son.
And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.
When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father.
But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”
“What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.”
So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him.
He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.”
Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.
Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills.
Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way. [Luke 1:57-66]
The hand of the Lord certainly was upon John in a special way. He would grow to be known as John the Baptist. John was to be the Herald of Jesus Christ. He was the fulfillment of promises in Exodus, Isaiah and Micah from hundreds of years before. He would be the one to baptize Jesus. Our Savior Himself would say that John was the spirit of Elijah who was also promised to return to Israel.
While in his mother’s womb he was the first to recognize Mary as the Mother of the Messiah. When he grew to manhood he would also be the first to recognize and declare Jesus as that same Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Jesus said there was none born among women greater than John the Baptist.
This made sense in light of Jesus teaching that those who would be greatest must become least (Luke 22:26). Consider John’s own words about himself and Jesus.
“It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.” John 3:29-31
Father, allow us a measure of the spirit of John the Baptist. Where we can use words, give us the words to declare the good news of Your Son Jesus Christ. Far better than words, though, help us live humble lives that lovingly shout Your Presence to all who know us.