The Final Prophet Is Born
Lord Jesus, You are the God of my waiting, the basis of my hoping. Come, O come, Emmanuel. I long for You.
Read LUKE 1:57-66
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Lord Jesus… who… didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way… Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready” (Book of Common Prayer, 1968).
Luke records the birth of John, God fulfilling his earlier promise to Zechariah (Luke 1:13). The birth of any baby brings great joy. John is no exception, with the relatives rejoicing greatly. Elizabeth’s shame has turned to celebration. Elizabeth and Zechariah demonstrate their fidelity to the covenant, bringing John for circumcision (Gen. 17:1-14). Counter-culturally, he is named John rather than a known family name–again we see their obedience to God (Luke 1:13). John’s naming is followed by the miraculous return of Zechariah’s speech. This anticipates the many miracles that Luke will record, not from John but from Jesus. Zechariah’s first words are praise, recalling Mary’s song in the previous passage. Understandably, awe then spreads through the relatives, and great expectations form concerning the boy’s future.
With both his parents of priestly lineage (Luke 1:5), it was no doubt expected that John, too, would become a priest. However, God had other plans. John would be called to be the last of the prophets of the old order, standing in the tradition of Elijah. He would be well raised by parents who would teach him the Jewish story, the Scriptures and the hope of the Messiah. He would grow up with fire in his belly and live in the wilderness, calling people to repentance and baptism, preparing them for their Messiah. Like many prophets of Israel’s past, those in Luke’s saga (Jesus, Stephen and James) and many subsequent Christian leaders (e.g., Peter, Paul; see also Antipas in Rev. 2:13), he would die a martyr’s death.
God is like this. He acts in history, calling people, changing the course of their lives from priest to prophet; from fishermen, tax collectors, zealots or Pharisees to apostles; and from a virgin’s womb to Savior of the world. He uses them to shape history. He uses the willing. He will use us. The question is, are we open to his call?
Take time to lay your life open to God and allow him to speak. What is God saying to you? Are you open to his call? Why or why not?
Lord Jesus, I think I am open to Your call. If there is any niggling resistance, by Your Spirit, help me break down the barriers. I love You, Lord.