The Birth of John the Baptist
Open Your Bible
BY Guest Writer
Text: Luke 1:57-66
I always cry at baby showers. It doesn’t matter how many I attend, how many ultrasound pictures I look at, or how many tiny onesies I see unwrapped—I just can’t get over the wonder of it all.
I had the joy of delivering three babies into this world in short succession, but I never got used to it. I was as overjoyed to see the profile of baby number three as I had been with his older brothers. It felt like falling in love for the first time, every time.
It’s a thread that unites all seven billion of us currently on the planet and every human being who has come before us or will arrive after we’re gone: each of our births is remarkably similar and yet, still remarkable. G.K. Chesterton once said it this way: “The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.”
This was true of Zechariah, Elizabeth, and their son, who would grow into the man we’ve come to know as John “the Baptist” (Luke 1:57-66). It was certainly true of Joseph, Mary, and the baby lying in a manger. The gospel makes it true of us too. Jesus’ work for us, and in us, is what transforms our unremarkable stories into something truly special.
John was the only child of Zechariah and Elizabeth, a couple who’d spent decades barren and childless. Perhaps they’d given up hope of ever attending a shower for their own baby since the Bible tells us they were “advanced in years” (Luke 1:7). News that a baby was on the way was first announced only to Zechariah, in the privacy of the temple, by the angel Gabriel (vv. 8-19). And while that birth announcement was extraordinary, much of their story was very… ordinary.
It was one man plus one woman, giving birth to one child who would live and breathe and function much like every other person on the planet. But John’s birth also more; it was a foretaste, a flashing neon sign that pointed toward another ordinary, yet extraordinary, birth.
He didn’t remain a baby, of course. John spent his life looking toward Jesus and declaring:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
– John 1:29
Stamp that on your Christmas card. Hang it as a banner around your tree. John was declaring the true meaning of Christmas.
The gospel is the most remarkable story every told, yet the binding of the story is stitched together with ordinary details. One man and one woman beaming over one child—the child—who would take away the sins of the world.
Through our ordinary, everyday lives we get to proclaim the extraordinary gospel. Just like our births were unremarkably remarkable, each one of us is a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. His grace is available to each of us, and yet, it never gets used up, never gets old, never loses its shine.
The gospel never stops transforming ordinary men and women into extraordinary examples of God’s goodness and grace. May it never cease to take our breath away. As Christmas comes and goes, and we gaze at Christ on both extravagant days and ordinary ones, may it feel like falling in love for the first time, every time.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.