Devotional #3 (10/8/12). The greatest prophet of all time is born.
Intro: Last week we talked about Mary, who was told she was going to give birth to Jesus. An angel told Mary that Jesus would be fully God and fully Man since the Holy Spirit would divinely put the seed inside Mary. We also saw that Elizabeth and Mary got together and praised God for their blessings.
This Week’s Reading: Luke 1:57-80.
vv. 57-60. Here John is born and everyone is happy that God has blessed Elizabeth and Zacharias. The “eighth day” was important because in Genesis 17:12 and Leviticus 12:1-3 Israelites were commanded to circumcise their boys and by tradition that was when they were named also. The people filling out the paperwork assumed the baby would be named after his father but Elizabeth held to what the angel had said and named him John.
vv. 61-66. The people don’t trust Elizabeth since tradition was to call a child by another name that had been in the family, so they ask Zacharias. Since he was still mute he wrote out to call the baby John and at the point he was able to talk again. Remember the angel had promised Zacharias would “not [be] able to speak until the day these things take place” (Lk. 1:20) to teach him a lesson to trust in God.
So John was born and Zacharias had plenty of time to trust God and once he acknowledged the baby would be called John, he was able to talk again. In the same way sometimes God gives us a test and until His timing is reached and we have learned to trust in Him, we will have a disability or disadvantage. When Zacharias could finally talk again it must have made every word feel precious! I wonder if when he spoke: in talking with his wife, in teaching his son, in communicating with others, he made sure it mattered.
vv. 67-79. This passage is known as the Benedictus (the first word of v. 68 in the Latin translation)” (Source 1). A benediction is a blessing (Source 2). When Zacharias was serving in the temple he was supposed to give a benediction so it makes sense that the first words out of his mouth nine months later would be a blessing (Source 1).
Zacharias first blesses God (v. 68) which is a great way for us to start our prayers. He then recognizes that God is lifting Someone up in power since any time a “horn” (v. 69) is mentioned figuratively in the OT it means power. Obviously Zacharias is not exalting his son (John the Baptist) but praising the coming Messiah (Jesus). He recognizes that God has always: told his people of the Messiah through prophets (v. 70), saved from enemies (v. 71, 74) and kept His promises (v. 72-73). In verse 75 he acknowledges that God’s people will spend eternity with Him. In verse 76 Zacharias moves into prophecy of the greatest prophet ever known (see Luke 7:28) which would be his son! He finishes out this section with the truths that we will see shortly as we continue studying the Bible. John’s ministry was very specific: to prepare people’s hearts for the Messiah. A ministry is what you do for God. It can be teaching the Bible, evangelism, feeding the homeless or anything else that God has called you to do. It isn’t just doing a good thing but it is sharing God’s love and Jesus’ gift with others.
v. 80. The chapter finishes with a quick wrap up of John growing strong and hanging out in the desert until God was ready for him to start his ministry.
Summary: Elizabeth gives birth to John the Baptist and Zacharias is able to speak again. He immediately praises God for being faithful and keeping His promises. We have so much to be thankful for and we haven’t been waiting thousands of years for a Savior! God chose us to live during this time and to be able to look back at how perfectly His plan came together to miraculously bring John that Baptist into the world so that he could tell everyone about Jesus saving them. If you have not asked Jesus to save you now is the time!
Please feel free to ask questions and share with others!!!
Source #1: MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1513.