Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A People Prepared

October 1: Luke 1 & John 1:1-14

5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
John 1:5-17

A People Prepared

Sometimes the very fact that a Bible passage is so familiar causes us to often miss the significance of the event. That could very well be said about Luke 1 and John 1 which introduce us to John the Baptist. But, for a moment let us try to look at the verses shown above through the eyes of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

Although it has only been a few weeks since we have read about the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah in books such as Isaiah, keep in mind that it is now about 700 years after Isaiah wrote chapter 53. Were the Jewish people still looking for their Messiah, or had they given up? After all, 700 years is a very long time.

Now put yourself in Zechariah's place. Chosen by lot (some would call it chance, but we know better), Zechariah was chosen to go into the temple and burn incense. While there, he was visited by the angel, Gabriel, announcing the birth of a son through his wife, Elizabeth, who was barren. As Gabriel continued to unfold the news of his son and the duties he would perform in preparing the way for the Messiah, we should not be too surprised at Zechariah's unbelief.

How was God going to use John the Baptist? His purpose was to prepare people for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (to make ready for the Lord a people prepared). Did you ever think about the fact that God often uses us in the same way; our lives and testimonies are meant to prepare people for the Lord? Unfortunately we tend to take our duties to the Lord rather lightly. Oh, we know that the Lord will return again some day, but like Zechariah, we really do not think it will happen in our lifetime.

As you go about your duties of this day, think about Zechariah, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist. In what ways does God use you to bring to Him a people prepared?

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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