March 15, 2020
PRAYING FOR THE LORD’S VISITATION TODAY On the eighth day after John the Baptist’s birth, his father Zechariah was filled with the Spirit and prophesied. The Lord spoke through him announcing the purpose of his son’s life, namely, to prepare the way for the Messiah. For the Lord had visited their relative Mary and she
March 15, 2018
FROM MUTE DONKEY TO ARTICULATE PROPHET
In today’s OT reading, the Lord opened the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to speak. And in the NT reading, the Lord made Zechariah mute for nine months before restoring his voice. Zechariah praised God and prophesied over his newborn son, John. All that the angel Gabriel predicted had come to pass. I suppose he had plenty of time to contemplate the angel’s words, since he had no words of his own during his wife’s pregnancy. Awe fell over the entire neighborhood as the tongue-tied priest became an articulate prophet, blessing his son. What if every child was so anticipated? What if every child had a father speaking such prophetic blessing over him?
God asked Moses, “Who gave man his mouth?” (Ex. 4:11). The Lord can make a faithless man mute or a speechless donkey talk. So, we must be careful concerning our speech.
March 14, 2016
Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel that she would bear the Christ child was a wonderful expression of submission to God’s will. Her faithful response stands in contrast to Zechariah’s doubtful one. Of course, Mary questioned the angel too, but her request was not for certification, but for clarification. Zachariah wanted proof that his barren wife would have a child. Mary wanted to understand the means of conception since she was a virgin. She asked for clarification, not confirmation. Mary’s response stemmed from her faith; Zachariah’s stemmed from his lack of faith.
March 15, 2015
After nine months being mute, Zacharias prophesied over his newborn son, John. All that the angel Gabriel predicted had come to pass. I suppose the silenced old Zacharias had plenty of time to contemplate the angel’s words during his wife’s pregnancy. Awe fell over the entire neighborhood as the tongue-tied priest became an articulate prophet, blessing his son. In this verse, he spoke the prophecy of Malachi 3:1 over his son, saying that he would be the preparer of the way for the Messiah. What if every child was so anticipated? What if every son had a father speaking a prophetic blessing over him?
March 13, 2015
Luke addressed both his gospel as well as the book of Acts to a man named “Theophilus,” whose name means “lover of God.” Luke addressed him with the title, “most excellent,” which would imply that he was a person of prominence. Some have suggested that Theophilus was a man of wealth and position that Luke had been discipling in the faith. Perhaps he had offered to underwrite the expense of publishing Luke’s gospel and the book of Acts as well, which means that Luke addressed both of these books to him as his patron. The cost of copying these two works, so that they could be shared among the churches would have been great. There was no printing press, so the cost of copyists and paper was very high. At any rate, Luke the physician, under the inspiration of the Spirit, offered a very well-researched and “orderly account” of the gospel of Jesus and the history of the early church. And we are able to hold this account in our hands and read it with our eyes and receive it into our hearts today!
March 15, 2014
After 9 months being mute, Zechariah prophesied over his newborn son, John. All that the angel Gabriel predicted had come to pass. I suppose he had plenty of time to contemplate the angel’s words during his wife’s pregnancy. Awe fell over the entire neighborhood as the tongue-tied priest became an articulate prophet, blessing his son. What if every child was so anticipated? What if every son had a father speaking such prophetic blessing over him?
March 13, 2014
The angel that appeared to Zechariah in the temple and foretold the birth of John the Baptist was no common messenger. He was Gabriel, one of the angelic host that continuously stood in the very presence of God. He did not appreciate the doubtful questioning of old Zechariah. He identified himself, delivered the divine message, and stilled Zechariah’s doubting tongue until it could speak faithfully again. Perhaps Gabriel was surprised by Zechariah’s unbelief since they both had similar jobs. For while Gabriel stood before God’s heavenly throne, Zechariah stood burning incense before God’s presence in His earthly Temple. Yet, there was a curtain in the Temple separating Zechariah from the Holy of Holies, while Gabriel stood in the burning presence of God’s very throne. When Jesus died on the cross, that curtain was torn, so that those who believe on Him may boldly approach God’s throne with all our requests.
March 15, 2013
Against family tradition, but in accordance with the Lord’s instruction, Zechariah named his son John. The boy grew and became known as John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Christ. When Zechariah wrote the name, no doubt he wrote it in Hebrew: יוֹחָנָן (Yôḥanan), which means “Graced by Yahweh.” Since the New Testament is written in Greek, his name appeared as: Ἰωάννης (Iōánnēs) in Luke’s text. In English, the name “John” is derived from this Hebrew/Greek lineage and has become the most common masculine name in the Western world. According to Jesus, John was the greatest ever born up until that time. He truly lived up to his name, as the angel Gabriel had predicted. He was great before the Lord.
March 15, 2012
How the people responded to the birth of John the Baptist. Oh, that every child would be welcomed with such expectation!