December 11, 2021
Church Street United Methodist Church
Tennessee Valley District
Luke 1:57-66 (NIV)
57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
The Birth of John the Baptist
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
Every newborn baby is a blessing. Yet for Elizabeth and Zechariah, their baby was special in many ways. First, the couple were way past the parenting age. Second, an angel was the messenger of the good news of the impending birth. And third, Zechariah did not give his son the traditional family name, but the name told to them by the angel.
Waiting for Jesus
Clearly, baby John was anointed. The people around the birth were “in awe” and said, “What then is this child going to be?” (vs. 66) Yet the most amazing thing of all was the manner in which the baby would be glorified. Not as a warrior, come to save his people, or a great leader who would shine with power and majesty. John was destined to help others prepare for the coming of the Messiah. His humility and dedication were the hallmarks of his greatness. The spotlight wasn’t to be his; his job was to lead others to Christ and to follow Christ as far as it led him.
John would not have understood today’s “get ahead” society. While he was active in preaching about the coming of Jesus, he was essentially waiting, along with everyone else. That’s what makes John uniquely appropriate for the Advent season.
John surrendered all to a savior whom he knew only as a promise. Let us learn from John as we wait this Advent season – to stand quietly, serve how we can, and show others the way to the manger.
PrayerHow many people
Precious Lord, help us to always put service before fame and glory; show us how to look beyond our petty desires to the larger purpose that you have for us. May we understand and accept the holiness that can exist in waiting as we approach this Advent season. Amen.