Announcement of the Birth of John the Baptist!!!
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is 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 in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also 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. He will also 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 a people prepared for the Lord.” ….. Luke 5:5-17
In our previous study, we saw how Luke introduced the book of Luke and how He was careful to ensure that the stories are recorded in a consecutive order. We see Luke going way back to how an Angel appeared to Zachariah while He was in the Temple to announce the Birth of John the Baptist.
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.: This was a time when the nation of Israel had degenerated to a terrible level to the extent that the Gentiles has become their King. They have lost their Devotion to the True God and God has given the Gentiles power to rule over them. But in the midst of that Decaying Generation, God was able to keep a remnant for Himself in which His purpose could be accomplished. In the days of total backsliding, God still had a few who truly fear Him and expecting the Messiah. Zachariah and His wife Elizabeth was found. So also will it be before the second coming of the Lord, when there will be a great rebellion against God and His Authority. But yet there will be a Few who will still stand true to the Lord in those days. Let us therefore seek to receive Grace to stand in the days to come. That while Many will fall away from faith, the Lord will find us standing true to Him in our generation.
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. : Look at the way the Holy Spirit described Zachariah and Elizabeth. What a beautiful expression!!! “Husband and wife both Righteous before God!!”.Both walking blameless in ALL the commandments of the Lord!!! Blessed is the Man or Woman who can be described like this in these days. We must seek to be righteous before God and not just Men. Those who are Righteous before Men but Sinners before God are Hypocrites. Those who seek to please Men with their Righteous deeds only deceive themselves. For Men looks at the outward appearance but God Looks at the Heart.
What does it mean to walk blamelessly in ALL the Commandments of the Lord? There is a difference between walking PERFECTLY and walking BLAMELESSLY. Walking Perfectly means walking without any error according to God’s Highest Standard and it is impossible for us here on Earth. We can gradually Press on towards perfection but none of Us will be perfect like Jesus Christ until when He returns in Glory(1 John 3:2-3).As we draw closer to the Lord, we will always discover new areas in our lives where we need to cleanse ourselves. Walking Blamelessly means that My Conscience does not Blame Me for anything. I walk in the Light according to the Light I have received at this present moment of time. This is what God expects from everyone of Us. All believers are at different levels of maturity, some has more light than others. And God expects us to walk according to the light we have received in our conscience, and what You have understood from God’s word and the witness of the Holy Spirit. If you walk in the circle of that light, then you walk blamelessly. You cannot expect someone who have been Walking with the the Lord faithful for 50 years to have the same Level of Light with someone that Just repented yesterday. There are things the new convert will do that He will be blameless for while a more mature believer will do and will be blamed. But the Light Zachariah and Elizabeth had in their days were much less than what we have today, they were in the Old Covenant but Yet they walked blamelessly. This is a great comfort to us that God does not expect You to walk according to the Light of others around You. To whom More Light has been given, More will be required of Him. However, our Light Must keep increasing if We are faithful in our walk with God. Our Path must shine brighter and brighter each day. If we are not pressing on towards perfection, then it is possible that the light becomes less and less until it becomes Darkness. Jesus told His Disciples, ” Take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness(Luke 11:35)” Let us therefore seek to be blameless as we press on towards perfection(Hebrews 6:1).
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years: There are Many who think that when God gives Married Couple Children, then it means God is happy with them. If that is the case, how will you explain Zachariah and Elizabeth’s case? There are many Godly Couples who are righteous before God and walking in All the Commandments of the Lord blameless and Yet have no children. There is no connection between having Children and obedience or disobedience to God’s Commandments. The two are completely disconnected. It is a Matter of God’s Will. There are many Saints of God who had no physical Children. Let us therefore not look upon those who have no children as people who are not in touch with God. For our flesh is so corrupt and quick to judge and think Evil of others. Children indeed are heritage of the Lord but Yet God in His own Wisdom and sovereignty has decided to withdraw it from others for reasons best known to Him. But Yet God had a plan for Zachariah and His wife to give them a unique Child whom Jesus referred to as, “The greatest prophet born of women(Matt 11:11).
So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.: Though the Lord has refused to give Zachariah and His Wife a Child, yet He continued in His service to the Lord. Though It seems the Lord has forgotten Him, yet He made Himself available for the service of the Lord. We must never be offended with the Lord in the way He deals with us. If He has given others something of this world and seems He has not forgotten us, that is not the time we have to feel sorry for ourselves. In fact that is when we ought to seek Him more diligently to prove to Him that We desire nothing but Him. God seeks to detach us from Material things until we get to that point where we can say, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.(Psalm 73:25)” Blessed is He who is not offended because of the Way the Lord deals with Him(Matthew 11:6).
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid,: When we continue in our service to the Lord, we can be sure that the Lord will meet with us. Though He tarries, He will surely meet with us. For God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him(Hebrews 11:6). Notice also that an Angel appeared to Zachariah when He was alone. God always seek to speak to us when we are alone. When Jacob was alone, God Met with Him(Gen 32:24).When Moses was alone, God met With Him(Exodus 3:1-4). This is why it is so important for all of us to seek to find time in our lives when we can be alone. The world rushes on and the pressures of life makes it such that it is almost impossible to be alone unless we are determined to make that a priority in our lives. We can be so busy with the cares of this world and so many other things in our profession and work that we don’t just have time to be alone and the result is that we do not meet with God. Every person who wants to count for God must seek to find some time in His life where He can give God time leisurely. Even Jesus, wherever He went, He was always looking for a lonely spot where He could pray and be alone with the Father. Though He was very busy, yet He never failed to have a personal time alone with the Father. Even our service for the Church must not rob us of the time we should spend alone with God.
When Zachariah saw the Angel, He was gripped with Fear. Probably He thought He had done something wrong while He was burning incense and the Angel has come to punish Him. But the Angel said “Fear not!!! I have not come to punish You, I bring good news to you”. Those who serve the Lord with a good conscience have no reason to be afraid. There should never be fear in our service to the Lord. For God has not given us the Spirit of Fear(2 Timothy 1:7).Even when we make mistakes in our service to the Lord, we must remember that God is a good Father who knows our frame that we weak. Don’t Allow the Devil give you a Wrong picture of God. God is not a Police officer looking for every little mistakes you make to punish You. If that is the picture of God that You have, you will be exactly like that to others around You. Always looking for little mistakes here and there to punish them. Remember, we become Like the God we serve!!
For your prayer is 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 in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. : For Many years, Zachariah and Elizabeth must have been praying for a Child and many many years had gone by and they haven’t stopped praying. And it was many years later when they were both old that God finally answered their prayers. Probably, they have even stopped praying but their petition had been heard. God never forgets the prayers we have made for many many years. Nothing falls to the ground, Heaven is filled with All the prayers of faith that has been prayed over the Years. If we have prayed to the Lord in Faith, we can be certain that God takes note of it. Even when it seems as if the response is not forth Coming, we can be sure that, “He has heard our prayers”. Notice what the Angel said concerning John, “He will be great in the Sight of the Lord”. He will be great not in the world, but in the Sight of the Lord. This should be our Longing that all the children that the Lord will give unto us will be great in His Sight. We must be ready as Parent to train our Children in such a Way that they will become great in the sights of God. Shame on Parents who are so careful that their children gets all the required Textbooks and notes book but never care to know about the spiritual state of their Children. Shame on Fathers who are more concern about the report cards of their Children than the Spiritual state of their Children. It is the responsibility of Parents to bring up their children to be great in the sight of the Lord. It is not the responsibilities of the Church or children’s department or Sunday school teachers . God’s instruction is, ” fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord(Ephesians 6:4)” we must teach our children values that will make them great in the sight of God. The reasons why most of our children are not following the Lord is because they see that their Parents are Hypocrites who only act that they are Spiritual in Church but at home, all they talk about is how to make more money and become great in the world.
Also Zachariah was given instructions concerning John that He was to be a self disciplined boy. Today, we have many instructions in the Bible given to parents concerning the Children the Lord has given to them. And All parents must take heed seriously to the instructions lest they ruin their Children’s life and be held accountable. Also He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from His Mother’s womb. Although the Holy Spirit has not yet been poured out, yet it was said that John will be filled with the Holy Spirit. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit before the day of Pentecost was to prepare people for service. The Holy spirit came upon Many people in the Old testament but it was simply to enable them to do what God wanted to do at that time. It did not remain permanently on them and within them Samson is a very good example. The Spirit would come upon Him and He will fight and defeat the enemies and the Next thing we will read about Him is that He slept with a prostitute. The Holy spirit started dwelling in people to transform them from the day of Pentecost onwards. So this Filling of the Holy Spirit on John the Baptist was to prepare Him for the Ministry God had for Him.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also 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 a people prepared for the Lord.”: The Ministry of John was to turn people back to the Lord. There is so much we can learn from the Ministry of John the Baptist because He was a forerunner for the first coming of Christ. And today, the Church is called to be forerunner to prepare people for the second coming of the Lord. This will only be possible if we have that same Spirit and power that Elijah had. That same fearless Devotion to the Lord that we see in the Lives of John the Baptist and Elijah because they lived in the sight of God and not seek to please any man. The only burden they had was to turn people to the Lord and prepare people for the coming of the Lord. To sort out people’s family lives by turning the hearts of the Children to the Father. Let us therefore seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Ministry God has given unto us.
Dear Friend, seek to be blameless in All the commands that the Lord has given to you. Continue in His service even when He has given You nothing. Seek to be great in His sight alone and long to bring up your children in the fear of the Lord. May the Lord give us Grace to continue with Him in a decaying Generation.(Amen). God bless You. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.