The Birth Of John The Baptist

One day, an angel appeared to Zechariah the priest, with a startling announcement. He said his wife Elizabeth would give birth to a son whom we know as John the Baptist.

But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. Luke 1:13

Shaken and overwhelmed with fear, the angel assured Zechariah that he had no reason to fear him. What this priest experienced that day began what we call the Christmas story.

Within this story, the Bible records the visits of four angelic beings. Each of their conversations started with similar greetings.

  1. With the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son. Luke 1:13
  2. When the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary, he said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary… for you have found favor with God!” Luke 1:30
  3. Joseph, in a dream, heard from an angel. “Joseph, son of David … do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.” Matthew 1:20
  4. Also, while shepherds watched their flocks. The angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10
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So, after the angel’s greeting, he told Zechariah that this birth would create great joy for many.

You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, Luke 1:14

The Anointing of John

Then, he continued by describing God’s anointing on his son.

  • For he will be great in the eyes of the Lord.
  • He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.
  • And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.
  • He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah.
  • He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.
  • Plus he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
  • And he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly. Luke 1:15-17

Have you ever heard someone speaking, but you really didn’t listen to what they said? Maybe Zechariah found himself in that state of mind.

It seems that he may have still been thinking about the impossibility of having a child at their age.

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Luke 1:18

The angel told him very sternly how he could be sure. First, he identified himself as Gabriel and then told him where he stands in heaven.

Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! Luke 1:19

Think about what had just taken place and where. Chosen by lot, Zechariah entered the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. In other words, he stood in God’s presence.

Even though God remained silent for some 400 years, he was still present. We must remember that as well. When it seems like we don’t hear from Him, it doesn’t mean He’s not there.

How Can A Star Pinpoint Something The Birth Of John The Baptist

God is Always Present

When we need the assurance of God’s presence, we might ask him to give us a sign. Sometimes that works in our favor, and other times it doesn’t.

Zechariah got a sign without even asking. He completely lost his voice because he questioned the angel’s word. His silence lasted for the entire nine months of his wife’s pregnancy.

But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” Luke 1:20

People waiting outside the sanctuary became concerned because Zechariah took longer than normal to complete his duties. Then, when he came out, they knew something had happened.

When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary. Luke 1:21

The next verse says that he didn’t return home until he finished his week of service in the Temple.

Can you imagine how Zechariah must have tried to communicate his experience with his wife?

But what the angel Gabriel said came to pass, bringing great excitement to Elizabeth.

Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.” Luke 1:24-24

 Zechariah regained his speech right after the birth of his son, John, who later became the Baptist. At that time, he confirmed the baby’s name to all present.

He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God. Luke 1:63-64

The Birth Of John The Baptist

Zechariah, Elizabeth, and the Birth of John the Baptist

The news of these events of Elizabeth’s late-in-life pregnancy and Zechariah’s instant healing spread throughout the region.

Fortunately, we know the complete history of what began with the birth of John the Baptist. The announcement of his birth started the events we call the Christmas story.

We also know that God won’t remain silent like He did before the birth of John the Baptist. Jesus promised us His Holy Spirit. Therefore, God’s presence always dwells with us.

So, the next time you wonder if God has left you, He hasn’t. Remember, though, what happened to Zechariah. Because he doubted, God silenced him. Don’t let that happen to you.

Lord, thank you for your presence in our lives and for your constant reminders of it. May we never doubt you.

Check out these related posts about believing God.

Check out these other posts taken out of Luke chapter 1.



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