Thursday, December 24, 2009

Birth of John the Baptist

57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66 And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.
(Luke 1:57-66, New King James Version)

Birth of John the Baptist

From the beginning, it was evident that John the Baptist would be no ordinary person, but was ordained for something special. Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy, and on the eighth day, when he was to be circumcised and named, his mother said he was to be named John. Her neighbors and friends objected, because it was customary to use a family name; none of the relatives of Zacharias and Elizabeth was named John.

Thinking she must have made a mistake, they insisted that they ask his father, who was still not able to speak. I love the answer he wrote on a slate. "His name is John." He did not say, we will call him John, but his name is John, for he had already been named by God! As soon as he wrote those words on a slate, his mouth was opened and he spoke, praising God.

Now the friends and relatives went from being amazed to being afraid saying, “What kind of child will this be?”

Luke 1:66 ends with, And the hand of the Lord was with him.

The stage was now set, the child who would become the messenger of Christ was born. With the publicity that the birth of John the Baptist received, one would think that the people were ready to believe his words when he proclaimed the coming of Christ, the Messiah.

I suppose it is easy for us to say that, however, because we have the entire story of Christ's birth, death, and resurrection laid out before us in the Gospels, as well as all of the references to Christ's coming in the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 3:15.

It was an amazing time to live. How would we have fared if we lived during that time? Would we have the same faith in Christ that we do today?

Take sometime today and tomorrow to read the story of the birth of Christ from Matthew and from Luke; do not forget to include the circumstances surrounding the birth of John the Baptist. How easy it is to become distracted with the world's celebration of this holiday, but it is really a celebration for Christians, as we honor this "holy-day".

God Bless You,

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