Topic: John the Baptist
From the previous study, we looked at the background of John the Baptist’s parents, Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:5). Zechariah and Elizabeth were “upright in the sight of God” as Luke reported. Of course, we looked to their marriage and how we could have successful single and/or marriage life in Jesus Christ as priesthood. In I Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priests, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. You were chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his wonderful life.” That’s from the New Century Version. Revelation 17:8 tells us that whose names are not written in the book of life since the beginning of the world. What is this mean that God keeps record what we did with the salvation of Jesus Christ, while we are on the earth, and He will judge us according to that gift of salvation. If God didn’t find one of our names in the book of life will go to the eternal death.
Read with me in Luke 1:11-17.
“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him [Zechariah], standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord. And he will go before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteousness—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’”
Luke 1:11 tells us that angel was appeared to Zechariah at the right side of altar of incense. To me, it seems that Zechariah was in the Temple of the Lord. From the Old Testament, the Temple was the Israelites place of worship. It was the most magnificent by King Solomon. As we see at the end of II Chronicles, the Babylonian destroyed the Temple, because the Israelites turned against God. From the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, we see that the people of Israelites began to rebuild the Temple.
As we see in the verse 11 in Luke 1, an angel or messenger of the Lord appeared to Zechariah at the right side of the altar of incense. This is the most significant of phrase. Throughout the Bible we read about the right hand of God. In the Book of Revelation said that Jesus is sitting at the right side of God. But, wait, what is on the left side? Do this mean people, who use their left hands, would directly go to the Hell? I don’t think so, because Jesus said that God so loved the world that He gave us His Son to save us from the world (John 3:16-17). He prayed at the last moment of His life before the crucifixion, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15.)
As we see Zechariah’s emotion in Luke 1:12, he was afraid when he saw the angel. We will see how Mary responds to the angel with this kind of emotion. The NIV Bible says that Zechariah was startled and was gripped with fear. What if you had a nightmare on the End Time, would you be scared? Daniel said that he became weak and sick for several days after he saw the vision of End Time (Daniel 8:27a). There is no doubts about we are living at very last day of our breaths. As we look at the events around today’s globe, we see many tragedies in Israel, the land that God puts the foundation of the world.
Look in Luke 1:13. The angel said to Zechariah that he does not be afraid. We do not have to be afraid when it comes to the crisis. Isaiah 55:8-9, the Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Do not fear when it comes to crisis in your or my relationships. The word fear means afraid or setting our emotions in awkward situation. It also can be as in painful situation, especially in broken relationship, for at a certain amount of time. Do not fear when your or my business has been crashed down. Because on the second part of Luke 1:13 says “your prayer has been heard.” God has a great plan for each of our life (see Hebrews 11:40). He also said that He has a future and hope for our own life (see Jeremiah 29:11). We can’t go wrong, if we put God in our lives and trust Him and not lean under own understanding way in life (see Proverbs 3:5-6), because God told us so.
Read Luke 1:13c and see what God would do for Zechariah and Elizabeth. From Luke 1:13-17, the angel said to Zechariah that God would give you a boy in their old ages. In Genesis 21:1-7, we see how God had promised and gave Abraham and Sarah a child, Isaac. Isaac means laugher. Here was when God gave the first Patriarch a son, Isaac. As we continue read through Genesis, we see that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the Patriarch of the land of Israel, which it forms to twelve tribes of Israel from twelve sons of Israel or Jacob. This will lead to the 144,000 of Israelites that God will save before the Antichrist will show himself to the media (Revelation 7:1-8), plus those whose are living for Jesus Christ will be saved. But let’s go back to John the Baptist. Now we come to the description of John the Baptist that an angel is going to announce. (Next time, we will finish on this message series before we look to Mary and Elizabeth.)
As we read in Luke 1:14-15a, the angel of the Lord prophesied that John the Baptist will bring such a joy to the people and he will be great in the sight of the Lord. According to John 1, Matthew 3, and Luke 3, John the Baptist was preaching God’s message to the people by repenting their sins. Look in the second part of that verse, John will not drink any alcohol and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit (as Luke wrote about the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13). In John 14:16-17a, Jesus promised His disciples that He will ask His Father to bring the Holy Spirit upon them, which will be fulfilled in Acts 1. Do you have the Holy Spirit in your present life? I’m not writing this message from my own idea, because the Bible declares that no one can contact with God unless the Holy Spirit would agree with God. We have the three persons inside in us. They are the soul, the spirit, and the living God. In the marriage, we would have God or material things, mate, and ourselves in our life. To have successful marriage, each of us needs God first.
In Luke 1:16-17, the angel declared that forerunner for Messiah will bring the people to God and he will go before Him to prepare the coming of Christ. “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6.)
Are you saved? Are your love ones and friends saved in the grace of God through Jesus Christ? The purpose of this ministries is to share with you how much God loves you and me and wants to come in our own life to take us through any obstacles in our daily life. As Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3.)
If you are lukewarm in your relationship with Jesus Christ and want to know Him as your personal Savior and Lord of your life, please consider asking Him to forgive your sins and invite Him into your life. Paul says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believed and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10.) If you have done in your private room or workplace, then you need to tell to your friends or love ones about what you have done, so they may rejoice with you and want to have that relationship with Christ in their own life. There are many occultisms in the world, which do not know the love of God and His great plan for those who believe in Him. As it is written in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”