Advent ~ day 12 ~ the forerunner

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. (‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭76-80‬ NIV)

When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. They named him John, as that was what the Angel had commanded. Zechariah had not been able to speak for 9 months, he wasn’t going to risk anything, complete obedience was the order of the day! I think he had a healthy fear of the Lord. As soon as they name him John Zechariah’s mouth is opened and he begins to praise God, a very healthy response. I have heard of many people doing a speaking fast and they have found it very helpful, and though Zechariah’s was involuntary the fruit of it is a heart ready to praise God, it trains the heart to listen and be still. Maybe this is something that you should diary in for the new year?

The circumstances around John’s birth were unusual, this had not gone unnoticed and people began to wonder what this child will be.

However, we don’t have to wonder as we have the record of who he was prophesied to be and the account of his life in fulfillment of that:

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. (‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭57-66, 76-80‬ NIV)

John would be the last of the Old Testament prophets coming to prepare the way for Jesus. He was a forerunner and in his own words we read:

To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:27-30)

He was preparing the way for the advent of the bridegroom, it was never about him but about the one who
would come after him.

What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’
I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:26-28)

His joy was to serve the purposes of the Lord and His kingdom, yet what Jesus would do is of infinitely greater value. John was a messenger and pointed to one greater than him. I think we can learn from him and see that we too are only messengers and point the way to Jesus and His Kingdom, let it be our delight to serve His purposes, His kingdom in our generation and as John prepared the way for the first advent so let us prepare the way for the second. Though we don’t know the hour, every day is one day nearer.

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