The Birth of John the Baptist

By Harrison Woodard

For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him. — 1 Samuel 1:27 KJV

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and be a joyful mother of children. — Psalm 113:9 KJV

Jesus answered them, “I assure you: If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what is done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” — Matthew 21:21-22 HCSB

Based on Luke 1

Once there was a priest named Zacharias. He and his wife Elizabeth were both very good people that loved God. But they were very old and had no children. They both asked God to bless them with a child and continued believing that He would answer their prayer.

One day as Zacharias was fulfilling his duties in the Temple, it was time for him to enter the inner sanctuary and worship God. As Zacharias prepared the incense, an angel appeared in front of him. He was startled and terrified by the sight of this heavenly visitor.

“Don’t be afraid, Zacharias! God has heard your prayer. Your wife Elizabeth will give you a son. You are to name him John. You will have great joy at his birth and many will celebrate with you. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born,” said the angel.

“He will be like Elijah, equipped with spirit and power, he will prepare the people for the Messiah’s arrival. He will soften many hearts and turn many from evil to good”

Zacharias said, “My wife and I are very old. Can you give me a sign, so I will know this is true?”

“I am Gabriel!” declared the angel. “I stand in the very presence of God who has sent me to you with this good news. Since you do not believe my word, you will not be able to speak until your child is born. But know this, every word I have spoken will come true.”

Zacharias returned home, unable to speak just as Gabriel had said.

After several months, Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy. Word spread quickly around town about how God had blessed the couple in their old age. All their friends and relatives gathered on the eighth day to name the child. Everyone assumed that they would name the child Zacharias after his father.

“No!” exclaimed Elizabeth. “He must be named John.”

“But none of your relatives have that name,” said the crowd.

They gave Zacharias something to write on and asked him what he wanted to name the boy. To everyone’s surprise, he wrote, “His name is John!”

Immediately, Zacharias could speak again and he started praising God,

“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel. He has redeemed His people, sending us a mighty savior from the line of David, to save us from our enemy. He has remembered His sacred promise by making us holy and acceptable and ready to stand in His presence.

“And you my son shall be called God’s glorious prophet. You will prepare the people for the Messiah’s arrival and announce the good news of God’s plan for salvation by forgiving our sins. All of this is possible because God loves us so much. He has given His glorious light to those who sit in darkness and to guide us to life and peace.”

The little boy grew and became spiritually strong. He lived in the wilderness until the day he started his public ministry to Israel.

 

Some Things To Think About

Zacharias and Elizabeth both had asked God for a child. And when Gabriel arrived to give Zacharias the good news, he couldn’t believe it! His doubt was so strong he even asked for a sign. The sign he was given was loss of speech. God in His mercy prevented him from speaking until everything Gabriel spoke came to pass. John would be born. If Zacharias had continued to talk doubt and unbelief, he might have jeopardized the birth of his son! For the next nine months, Zacharias meditated on what Gabriel said and his faith surely grew as John’s birth drew near. By this time, Zacharias was filled with joy and praise to Almighty God whose Word can always be trusted!

From the beginning of time, God was preparing for the arrival of Jesus. All the prophets had added pieces of the puzzle about how, what, where and when the Messiah would be born. One of the key prophecies was about a messenger or prophet that would arrive just before the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3-5, Malachi 3:1 & 4:5-6). John’s birth and ministry was fulfillment of these prophecies.

The Bible tells us that both Zacharias and Elizabeth were good, devout people. But sometimes even good Christians have trouble believing God’s Word. Zacharias had an angel announce the birth of his son, but he still would not accept this revelation and provoked the angel (Exodus 23:20-22). Doubt and unbelief is the opposite of faith. And faith is what pleases God because faith brings His promises true in your life (Hebrews 11:1 & 11:6). The Bible is full of promises of health, prosperity and an abundant, joyful life. But without faith, an absolute confidence in God and the integrity of His Word, none will ever come true and you will fall short of all that God has planned for you.

 

Faith Building Exercise

Faith comes by continually hearing God’s Word. When you confess (speak) God’s Word out loud you are planting God’s incorruptible seed in your heart (spirit). In time, God’s Word will take root in your spirit (heart) and produce a plentiful harvest of all God’s blessings and promises in your life.

Confess these out loud every day until you believe them in your spirit. They will build your faith. Look up these verses and read them as they appear in your Bible. You can always trust God’s Word because He cannot lie.

 

I do not doubt God’s promises. I am fully persuaded that what God promises, He will do.
(Romans 4:20-21)

Whatever I ask for in faith, I receive because I do not doubt.
(Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 11:22-24)

God is faithful. I can trust His promises.
(Hebrews 11:11)

God gives me rest. All of His promises are true in my life. None will ever fail.
(1 Kings 8:56)

God gives me the desires of my heart and has not withheld the requests of my lips.
(Psalm 21:2)

My faith rests on God’s power not men’s wisdom.
(1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

Praise the Lord! Praise His holy name! He forgives all my iniquities and heals all my diseases. He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with loving-kindness. He satisfies all my needs and desires. My youth is renewed.
(Psalm 103:1-5)

I will still bear fruit in old age. I will stay fresh and green.
(Psalm 92:14)

I walk in all the way God commanded. I will live and prosper and prolong my days in the land I possess.
(Deuteronomy 5:33)

God sends His angel ahead of me to guard me in my way and to lead me to the place that He has prepared for me. I pay close attention to him and obey him. I don’t go against him because he won’t put up with any rebellion because he’s acting on God’s authority. I obey him and do everything he tells me. God is an enemy to my enemies and fights against those who fight against me.
(Exodus 23:20-22)

 

 

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