Announcement of the birth of John the Baptist (2)
Continuing with the announcement of John’s birth, it is interesting to observe some other aspects of this announcement:
A special birth: even before he was conceived, special circumstances surrounded the birth of this child.
An angel of the Lord brings the news and even the people who are waiting for Zachary realize that special and unique circumstances surround the announcement.
His name is chosen by the Lord himself (John means “he who is faithful to God,” and we all know how faithfully he fulfilled his mission and how his days ended).
Even from his mother’s womb this child will be filled with the Holy Spirit, so much so that he will jump into his mother’s womb when the Savior’s mother visits hers (Luke 1:41) and will be a Nazir (Nazarite), set apart especially for the service of the Lord (and will not drink wine or cider).
John’s mission: With what mission will this child be born? To prepare the way of the Lord, to prepare with his preaching and the power of the Holy Spirit the hearts of men so that they turn to God. John is a new Elijah, who comes before the Lord (Mal 4:5-6). And John’s call will be a call to repentance, to recognize our sin, to turn our hearts to the Father.
God chooses and uses the despised: a final note is how God transforms the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth, especially Elizabeth. The Lord has looked upon their affliction, heard their prayers, and removed their affront by giving them a son. What God does is so unexpected that even Zechariah hesitates, but it is precisely when it is impossible for men to see more clearly the hand of the Lord at work.
TO MEDITATE: Can we see the Lord’s sovereign hand in these events and in our own lives? Do we experience the gratitude of having been called by the Lord and see his work in us?