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Saturday, August 27, 2005
The Life and Teachings of Jesus—The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold (Part I)
Topic: John the Baptist

Before the coming of the Messiah, there was a prophecy about the messenger, who was going to prepare the way for the Almighty One. In John 1, every person thought he was Elijah or the Prophet (John 1:21) when he preached the Good News of God’s Kingdom. As it is written in the Old Testament, "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way—a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him." (Mark 1:2-3 from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:1.) That person was John the Baptist. In the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we will see his character and mission for the Messiah to come. But before we look to John the Baptist’s characters, we need to look how he was arrived to this physical world.

As every person in the world came from their parents, John the Baptist came from the loving and godly people named Zechariah and Elizabeth. In today’s text, we will look to his parents’ background and how does this passage can be related to our society. If you have Bible on the side of you, turn to Luke 1:5-10; otherwise, you can read the passage that is next two paragraphs.

"In the time of Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well; along in years.

"Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside." (Luke 1:5-10.)

In this passage, we found that this event happened during the reign of King Herod. Also, it was a time of depression in the land of Israel, because they were begging for the Messiah to bring the peace. In the next chapter of Luke, Caesar Augustus issued decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world (2:1), which caused everyone went to his town to register (2:3).

In Luke 1:5, there was a priest named Zechariah, who lived during the reign of King Herod in Judea. As we look at Zechariah, he was a faithful man and priest, who came from the division of Abijah. Abijah means "God is my father." As we read in the Old Testament, there was Samuel’s corruption son (I Samuel 8:3) and a descendant of Aaron who led the eighth division of service in David’s sanctuary (I Chronicles 24:10). Also, Zechariah had a wife named Elizabeth, who was also a descendant of Aaron (Luke 1:5c). In Luke 1:6 says that they were upright in the sight of God, observing His commandments and regulation blamelessly.

As we look to their marriage life, let’s look into our world point view on the marriage. When I was at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, I met couple Christian people who shared with me their pass marriage life. As we discussed on the issue, they demonstrated me what they missed in their lives that caused in broken relationship with Jesus Christ. As we see on the media, many people would want to have marriage life because of the lack of love. Hebrews 13:4-5 says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’" If you are single as I am, don’t pressure yourself to try to find your mate, because God said that He will take care of your needs and He will celebrate the wedding feast with you in His place. Is the Church, which it represents as His bride?

In Luke 1:7 tells us that Zechariah and his wife had no children because of their old ages. Why God didn’t give them children? As we look Abraham and Sarah, God them a son, Isaac. But when the couple are faithful to God daily, He does not leave in one place. Instead, He waits until they are ready for a child. For instant, when I pray to God, He waits until I am waiting to receive His answer. Maybe you have a situation where you are not getting the answer to your needs.

But nowadays, some couples would decide to have long-term relationship and decide to astray from God. We see the news about the number of the people who decide divorce from each other or to have abortion—a murder of unborn baby. Yes, the baby came from God, and He will answer to your needs, but abortion is not an option. It will take a time. Even Zechariah and Elizabeth can refuse the waiting period that God is going to give a child, but they obeyed the Lord, as we will go further to see in Luke 1.

From Luke 1:8 to 1:10, we see that Zechariah was on the duty before God as being as priesthood. The Greek word for "priesthood" is hierateuma. It denotes "a priesthood" (akin to hierateuo), "a body of priests," consisting of all believers, the whole church (not a special order from among them), called "a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5.)." It’s "a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)," the former term is associated with offering spiritual sacrifices, the latter with the royal dignity of showing forth the Lord's Excellencies.

As in Luke 1:9, Zechariah was chosen by lot and according to the custom of the priesthood. In the Old Testament, God chose the people of Levite, a descendant of Levi who serve God and worked in the temple. Priests were Levites, but not all of them, some had lesser duties. "And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside." (Luke 1:10.)

In the New Testament said that those who believe in Him is called a holy priest. "But you are a chosen people, 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 light." (I Peter 2:9.) Even Jesus gave us the Great Commission to tell about the Good News of His kingdom (Matthew 28:18-20). In the household, we are called to serve each other.

When we come to the marriage, there is a different rule between the husband and wife to live God’s way. In I Timothy 2, Paul said that a man should be ahead of his household. The woman does not allow to teach or to have authority over a man, but to listen quietly (I Timothy 2:12). But the women should be reverent in the way they live (Titus 2:3a). As we read Titus 2:3-6, Paul told us that the job description for women should be supposed to do in the family. Nowadays, there are some marry women go out to work and make salary for families. From Genesis 1 to Genesis 2, God created the universe with His mighty hand and He created Adam, the first person that He ever created. Adam was a man, who lived in the Garden. God called Adam to have dominion over the earth. Then He created a woman, Eve, from the one of Adam’s bones. God didn’t call Eve to have the same right that Adam received. But when we see in Genesis 3, the serpent tricked Eve to understand what’s good and what’s bad, which caused Eve received the same right as Adam. To have successful marriage life as in priesthood, we need to let God gives us the duty assignment of household.

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.”

Posted by MGJC Web Ministry at 12:01 AM EDT
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