The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
Open Your Bible
BY Debbie Eaton
Text: Luke 1:5-17
I wish I could sit and have a cup of coffee with Elizabeth. I imagine our conversation would be filled with tears and laughter as we talked about our shared struggle of infertility. Isn’t it remarkable that the women of the Bible were real women with real-life hopes and dreams, just like you and me?
As much as I relate to Elizabeth, I am drawn to the story of Zechariah. He was Elizabeth’s provider, protector and lover. He was strong and courageous, and he carried the heavy weight of her barren womb. The rumblings of town gossip must have hurt. I see a lot of my own husband in Zechariah.
It was in the middle of my infertile years that my doctor told me I would need to have surgery to remove some tumors. I remember being terrified knowing there was a chance that I would never be able to have children. My husband was strong but scared. He told me if I came out of surgery whole, he knew God would bless us with a child. During the three hours of surgery he pleaded with God to keep me safe. As I was rolled out of surgery in a semi-conscious state, I remember my husband saying to me, “We will have a baby someday.” The wait for our son took three more years.
Waiting is always so difficult because we never know if our countless prayers will be answered the way we hope. Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed these same kind of waiting prayers. The scriptures say, “And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” (Luke 1:6).
Then, on an ordinary day when Zechariah is going to work at the temple, God put into motion the miraculous details of Zechariah’s story—a beautiful chapter in God’s ultimate plan. Zechariah entered the temple to burn the fragrant fumes of incense that represent the prayers of godly people, those in covenant relationship with God. Outside the temple were a multitude of people, also praying, when an angel appears to Zechariah.
“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been 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 before the Lord.”
Their prayers mattered. Our prayers matter!
A baby boy who was promised would be named John, which means “the Lord has shown favor.” He was the child who would be tasked with preparing the way for our Savior—preparing the world for the One who would fill them with joy and gladness.
What a beautiful picture of the Christmas season! In this time of Advent—waiting for Christ’s arrival—God is preparing the way for us to have joy, gladness and rejoicing. He hears and receives our desperate prayers. Let us stay faithful to God in prayer and in our actions as we invite others to experience the wonder and miracle of a baby boy that brings joy, gladness and love to the world around us.
“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.” -Psalm 141:2
Are you praying and preparing the way for someone to experience the Savior?
For an added layer of worship during this sweet season of adoration and expectation, we’ve created a Spotify playlist for Advent 2014! You can find the complete SheReadsTruth | O Come Let Us Adore Him playlist at this link, or listen to today’s track on the player below. Enjoy!