The Birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-80)
Dr. Andrew Jackson
God’s promise to Elizabeth came true, and Elizabeth gave birth to a son. Her relatives and neighbors heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they rejoiced with her. Eight days after his birth, all the relatives and neighbors came together to celebrate the circumcision of the baby boy. They were about to name him Zechariah after his father, but Elizabeth quickly spoke up and said, “No! His name must be John.” They were all surprised and said to her, “There is no one in your family who has the name John.” And then they made hand signs to Zechariah, for they wanted to know what he wanted to name his son. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s amazement he wrote, “His name is to be John.”
The Prophecy of Zechariah
Suddenly Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and began praising God. He prophesied: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has come and redeemed his people. He has raised up the king of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. As God said through the Old Testament prophets long ago: ‘Salvation from our enemies and from all those who hate us—to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath of promise he swore to our father Abraham; to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness be- fore him all our days. And you, my son John, will be called a prophet of the Most High God, for you will go before the Messiah to prepare the way for him. You will give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. For the compassionate mercy of our God—by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven—will shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, and will guide our feet into the path of peace.” All the relatives and neighbors were filled with amazement, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about the birth. Everyone who heard what had happened was puzzled and asked each other, “Who is this boy going to be?” For they knew the Lord’s hand was with him.
John the Baptist Lives in the Wilderness of Judea
John grew up in the strength of the Holy Spirit, and he lived in the Wilderness of Judea until he started his public ministry to the people of Israel.