September 5 - Luke 1:57-80

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Luke 1:57-80 – The Birth of John

Relatives are always there to help out, aren't they!  Everyone was so happy when Elizabeth finally delivered a son to the family. Her family and friends were gathered around and rather than asking anyone, they decided he should be named Zechariah. Since his father couldn't speak and Elizabeth was … well, Elizabeth was just a woman, naming the child John made absolutely no sense.  Even though she told them what the child would be named, they turned to Zechariah and asked him to respond.

The child born to this elderly couple entered the world and began by causing consternation among those who encountered him.  When Zechariah wrote the words telling people his name would be John, his tongue became loosed and he could speak again, using his first words to praise God. There was something very special about this child. It was apparent to all that the hand of the Lord was with him (Luke 1:66).

In Mary’s hymn of praise, we saw the fulfillment of God’s purpose for Israel. If you look at the tenses used in these two passages, there is something powerful about the use of past tense in the Magnificat and future tense in Zechariah’s benediction.

Zechariah sings out that the Lord, the God of Israel has come

…to show mercy
…to remember his holy covenant
…to rescue us from the hand of our enemies
…to enable us to serve him without fear

When he speaks to John, he tells him that he

…will be called a prophet of the Most High
…will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him

It is by the mercy of God that the rising sun will come

…to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death
…to guide our feet into the path of peace.

John is the one who will prepare the people of God for the One who will usher in the end. It might not be at that moment, but his call to repentance is the beginning of a change in the world which enables all of us to be citizens of God’s home in heaven.