Luke – Doors Wide Open!
John’s birth was miraculous. The village celebrated this birth without knowing God’s purpose. God had been silent for over 400 years. His people had all but rejected Him. Religious leaders formed self indulgent habits and used their power of position to burden people with man-made rules and regulations. It is no wonder God left them to their own ways. True to His promise, however, God never left the building, or in His words. “I will never leave you.”
The silence was finally broken with the birth of two sons. In God’s time, these sons, named by God, would change the world, throwing the doors wide open to lost people with a way to find Him and come back to Him in the most important relationship we will ever have.
It is time for the first son to be born to a very mature couple who loved God.
His name is John.
Luke 1, NLT
The Birth of John the Baptist
57 When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58 And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.
59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”
61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.
65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.
67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69 He has sent us a mighty Savior
from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised
through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies
and from all who hate us.
72 He has been merciful to our ancestors
by remembering his sacred covenant—
73 the covenant he swore with an oath
to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live.
76 “And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”
80 John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.
THINK ABOUT IT….
Can you feel the joy and excitement as Zechariah praises God with words from God about the coming Lord? God is no longer silent! God is coming! There will be Light for those who sit in darkness! He will guide us to the path of peace!
With this message comes a call to repent. May we never forget that true repentance leads to this exuberant joy of a committed, restored relationship with God once more.
The people will soon find out through God’s word spoken courageously and boldly through this man named John.
GOING DEEPER STILL…
Traditionally, a baby boy would be named after his father or someone else in the family,so the relatives and neighbors were shocked when Elizabeth insisted on the name John. Zacharias wrote “His name is John” on a tablet, and that settled it! Immediately God opened the old priest’s mouth, and he sang a hymn that gives us four beautiful pictures of what the coming of Jesus Christ to earth really means.
DOORS OPEN (v. 68). The word redeem means “to set free by paying a price.” It can refer to the releasing of a prisoner or the liberating of a slave. Jesus Christ came to earth to bring “deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4:18), salvation to people in bondage to sin and death. Certainly we are unable to set ourselves free; only Christ could pay the price necessary for our redemption (Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18–21).
The people were sitting in darkness and death, and distress gripped them when Jesus came; but He brought light, life, and peace. It was the dawn of a new day because of the tender mercies of God (see Matt. 4:16).
The old priest had not said anything for nine months, but he certainly compensated for his silence when he sang this song of praise to God! And how joyful he was that his son was chosen by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. John was “prophet of the Highest” (Luke 1:76), introducing to Israel “the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32) who was conceived in Mary’s womb by “the power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35).
Instead of enjoying a comfortable life as a priest, this prophet lived in the wilderness, disciplining himself physically and spiritually, waiting for the day when God would send him out to prepare Israel for the arrival of the Messiah.
His name is John.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Oh how we love to read your word that tells your story of reconciliation for our relationship with you. Thank you for sending John who introduced repentance and prepared the way for the Redeemer! Thank you for saving our souls and making us wholly devoted to You. Thank you for a man named John. Thank you, Jesus. Continue to transform our thinking as we walk with You.
In Jesus Name, Amen