The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
Open Your Bible
Luke 1:5-25, Malachi 3:1-4
Section 3: The Light Dawns
During the time of King Herod, Zechariah the priest and his wife Elizabeth were “righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6). They obeyed God. They demonstrated their faith through service. Yet, they struggled with infertility. They prayed for years for a child.
They understood unfulfilled longing. And God’s people understood unfulfilled longing as well. They had been waiting for God’s promise of a Redeemer.
Then, in God’s providence, Zechariah was chosen to serve in the temple, and the angel Gabriel brings him amazing news that his years of waiting would be met with a son. This child’s life had been ordained by God hundreds of years earlier to fulfill another longing.
Malachi prophesied the birth of this child, John the Baptist, calling him the messenger who would clear the way for another Messenger. John the Baptist’s birth was a divinely orchestrated foil, used by God to reignite remembrance and longing in the hearts of God’s people for the day of the Messiah’s coming.
Advent is a time of remembering that God keeps His promises, and that His promises are not dependent on the righteousness of His people but on the righteousness of His Son. His promises are not dependent on the obedience and faithfulness of the priests, but on the obedience and faithfulness of Christ.
The longings of Zechariah and Elizabeth for a son were not unmet. And Israel’s longing would be fulfilled in Jesus, the Son of righteousness who would rise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2). The joy and delight that Zechariah and Elizabeth experienced in the birth of their son would be shared by many because of his miraculous birth, but there would be greater rejoicing over the miraculous birth of the One who was coming, of whom John came to testify.
May this Advent season remind us that although God does not give us every earthly longing or desire, we can draw encouragement knowing that our most pressing longings have been satisfied in Christ.