Scripture Read: Luke 1
Title: The Announcement and Birth of John the Baptist
(H) Highlight verse: "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. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 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. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 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.' " Luke 1:13-17
(E) Explain: The Gospel of Luke begins with the story of John the Baptist. Luke gives an account to the foretelling of his birth given by the angel Gabriel. The angel tells John's father Zechariah, about his son who will be conceived and born. The child will be great before the Lord and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. His purpose will be to call the people of Israel to God; in other words, he will be a prophet to the nation calling them back to God. He will proclaim in the power and spirit of Elijah by calling people to repentance. However, his main priority will be to prepare the way of the coming Messiah. As you will see, John's "job" was to be a voice for God, and to be the one who makes the way for the Lord. He is in fact the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way for me."
(A) Application: The prophecy of John the Baptist was made approximately 500 years before he was born. This is a long time! However, in reading the fulfillment of this prophecy we are reminded once again of God's faithfulness in completing what He promises. John the Baptist had a specific role and job to do when he was born and grew up. His primary role was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. He preached a message of repentance and he announced the coming Kingdom of God. His role was technically a support role, his calling and purpose was not about him and his goals, it was about Jesus and His Kingdom.
Do you know that you have a similar calling as John the Baptist on your life? God has created you and me for a purpose and that purpose may not be what you think it is. Some think that God has called and purposed for to to do great and mighty things in this world in order to make a name for themselve and build their kingdom. But actually our calling is completely opposite. God has commissioned you and me to be the voice that proclaims the Kingdom of God. We have the calling and responsibilty to share the message of repentance and anounce to the world that the King, Jesus, has come and His Kingdom is near. This is a message that has been entrusted to us, Galatians 2:3, 4 says, "For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts." May we be faithful stewards of the Gospel and may we speak to please God.
(R) Respond: Lord, I have been entrusted with the Gospel, not because I am worthy but because you have called me to share it. May I faithfully share the Good News of Jesus and be pleasing in your sight.
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