Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would raise a person who would prepare the way for the ministry of Jesus (Isaiah 40:3). That person is known as John the Baptist and now I want to look at how this took place. The story of the birth of John the Baptist is found in Luke 1:5-25 & 57-80. His parents were Zacharias and Elizabeth and were from the priestly tribe. The bible records that they were both righteous and walked blamelessly before the Lord (V16), it is so important to understand that the bible does not exaggerate or make false claims. Despite the fact they were now old and had no children this did not stop them from being righteous. This is such a challenge to me for sometimes I am tempted to back-off when things do not work out the way I had planned – Zacharias and Elizabeth were not like that, they kept loving God. The bible records that it was Zacharias turn as a priest to burn incense in the temple. Burning incense is a picture of worshipping the Lord – the importance of being a worshipper cannot be overemphasized. While Zacharias was burning the incense an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him in V13 Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer has been heard; and your wife Elizabeth shall bear a son and you shall call his name John”. Zacharias replied to the angel how can this be because my wife and I are too old (V18). Although he did not believe it did not stop the birth of John, only he was struck dumb – which would have caused much pain for him – until the baby was given the name John. As I consider this it exposes a very important lesson – while they were capable of having children they prayed to the Lord for a child. I ask myself do I only pray for things that I see can happen or do I believe God for the impossible. What Zacharias did not understand was the timing of God – his son John was raised to prepare the way of Jesus. This is where I am challenged to trust the Lord – while I do not see an answer it is so important that I keep believing. Elizabeth became pregnant and hid and in her sixth month was visited by Mary (her cousin) who had just become pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. When she heard the voice of Mary Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She then said in Verse 43 NLT What honour that is, that the mother of my Lord should visit me”. As I reflect on this verse I am challenged by the thought ‘do I consider it an honour for the great things that the Lord has done in my life or do I just take it for granted. The time came for the baby to be born, so on the eighth day, they came to circumcise and name the baby. They asked Elizabeth who said ‘John’ and the people said this could not be correct because there is no-one in the family with that name. So they asked Zacharias and he asked for a tablet to write on, and he wrote ‘his name is John’ and immediately he was able to speak and praised the Lord. Everyone was astounded and said, “What kind of child will this be?”. Verse 80 says “So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel”. God had a plan and it came to pass despite the circumstances and it is my desire for the plan that God has for my life to come to pass.

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