Wednesday 15 December 2021

Bible Book:

‘With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord’. (v. 17)

Luke 1:5-25 Wednesday 15 December 2021

Psalm 71


The foretelling of the strange, miraculous birth of John the Baptist prepares us for momentous events that will unfold. In today's Bible passage we learn that John the Baptist will be born to an elderly, faithful, but childless Jewish couple: Zechariah and Elizabeth. This follows a solid Jewish tradition. Abraham and Sarah had Isaac in their old age (Genesis 21) and Hannah and Elkanah had Samuel after believing they could not have children (1 Samuel 1).

 Zechariah was a priest. On this occasion he was serving as normal and was chosen to offer the incense. The angel Gabriel appeared to him and foretold the birth of John, who would follow in the line of the great prophets, in the spirit and power of Elijah (v. 17).

John was called to be a prophet. They are people who call us to reflect on the consequences of our personal behaviour in community relationships and to repent. This repentance was necessary in order to prepare people for the coming of the Lord.

Some suggest that Zechariah and Elizabeth may have consecrated John to the service of God as a Nazarite, as an act of thanksgiving for his birth. Nazarites did not cut their hair, touch corpses or drink alcohol.

John’s mission, outlined by Gabriel, would be to call people back to their covenant relationship with God. It would be manifested in loving human relationships with parents "turning their hearts to their children" and the wayward  looking to the "wisdom of the righteous".

Zechariah was totally unprepared for the visitation of Gabriel. He may have been righteous, but he was also incredulous. His wife was beyond childbearing years. He asked Gabriel how it might be possible as his wife was elderly (v. 18)  and Gabriel struck him dumb until the birth foretold came to pass.

Zechariah and Elizabeth’s lives were completely transformed as they took their part in the drama of God’s purpose.



To Ponder:

  • What do you think John the Baptist’s mission would be like if he were preaching today?
  • Has God asked something of you at a time when you thought you were 'past it',  and what difficulties did that cause for you?
  • Have you ever asked God for a sign and what happened? How did you deal with it?


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