Dec 3 2011 - E100.52a – Luke 1:1-25, The birth of John the Baptiser foretold
Only Luke tells us about the birth of John the Baptist.
Luke informs us that he had taken great care to investigate every detail of the stories about Jesus. He wanted to set down an orderly account of all that had happened. He had sought out eye-witnesses and had listened to their stories. He had read accounts that others had put together. Now he begins to tell the story "from the beginning" (Luke 1:3). Others might have begun with the ministry of John the Baptist. Luke begins with his birth. This is where the story really begins.
It begins here because this is where God begins to act. After four hundred long years of silence and waiting, four hundred years in which there was only the dim echo of God's voice (as in the days of Samuel, see 1 Samuel 3:1), God is now raising up another prophet, the last of the prophets, who will prepare his people for his coming. God is on the move.
And when God is on the move, extraordinary things happen. An elderly childless couple are promised a son (further echoes of Samuel). He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth – driven by the Spirit into desert places; given by the Spirit the word of both judgment and hope, "Prepare to meet your God." He will prepare the way for the coming of the King.
Zechariah can't believe it and is struck dumb, but Elizabeth his wife is soon pregnant. This unlikely child will change the lives of the elderly couple. The message he will proclaim and the one whom he will herald will change the world – forever.
Father, thank you that you are always true to your word. All the promises of your word are about to be fulfilled, all the hopes of your waiting people will be more than satisfied. May your Spirit that was at work in John continue his work in us that we too may point others to the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the world.