MIRACULOUS BIRTHS: JOHN THE BAPTIST
“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Before the birth of Jesus there was another miraculous birth, namely, John the Baptist. He was born to an aged, barren couple, long after their childbearing years were over. John was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, the one who came to prepare the way for him (John 1:19-23). John’s ministry attracted large crowds, and he gained followers who were drawn to his message of repentance and the coming Kingdom of God. John paved the way for the ministry of Jesus Christ, baptizing Jesus, and publicly recognizing him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Our verses for today are part of a song Zechariah, John’s father, sang at his birth.
1. In verse 76, Zechariah addresses his new baby son, telling him of two purposes. First, to be a prophet of the Most High God, and second, to go before the Lord to prepare the way. What do you think it means to “prepare the way” for the Lord? Are we called to do this today? How?
2. In verse 77, Zechariah says that John will “give people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins. Are we called to do this today? How can we give people this knowledge?
3. In verses 78 and 79, Zechariah says that John will shine God’s light upon the people,
“guiding their feet into the path of peace.” Are we called to do this today? How can we guide them?
1. Know the Story! Familiarize yourself with the story of John the Baptist. Jesus’ birth was not an accident or an afterthought. It was prophesied and prepared in advance. And God used John the Baptist to prepare the way!
2. Share the Story! John the Baptist came to proclaim Jesus; to encourage others to prepare for His coming. It is vital that we do this today. Because if people are not prepared, they will be eternally lost.
3. Live the Story! John’s whole life was dedicated to shining the light on Jesus. One time he even said, “I must become less; he (Jesus) must become more.” (John 3:30). In like manner, we should exist to live each moment for Christ and His glory – not our own!
Heavenly Father, help me to humbly bow in reverence and awe. To come before you with an open heart, seeking Your guidance and grace. To recognize my human frailty and the limitations of my understanding. I pray for the strength to decrease so that you may increase in every aspect of my existence. Grant me the wisdom to surrender my will to yours, that your divine purpose may unfold in my life. Please strip away my self-centeredness, replacing it with the humility that comes from knowing you and your selfless, sacrificial love. May your glory be so magnified in my life that it points others towards the everlasting joy found in You.