This matter of the birth of John the Baptist is amazing. Jesus
said of him that there were none born of women greater than he. He was filled with the
Holy Spirit from his mothers womb. Even his birth was miraculous. His father
Zacharias and mother Elizabeth were well advanced in age, well past child bearing age. But
then God revealed Himself to Zacharias that they would bear a son and call him John,
meaning the "grace of God".
The birth of John was prophesied many years before. Isaiah who
lived about 740 BC prophesied of his birth and so too Malachi, about 540 BC. One could
have a whole sermon on Isaiahs prophesy and another of Malachis. They
prophesied how that John would be the forerunner of the Messiah.
The parents of John were true believers, and God revealed His
glory and power and grace in their family. Zacharias was an upright man, who together with
his wife served the Lord in an upright way. There was no fighting and arguing and disunity
between them. When the Lord revealed to him that they would have a son and call him John,
he shared it with his wife, and she didnt argue with him, although it went against
tradition, that he should have been called after the father, Zacharias.
Zacharias at first doubted the angel that he would have a son at
his and his wifes advance age. In Gods eyes it was a grievous sin, and he was
struck dumb. His unbelief was no small matter in Gods eyes, even though he was an
upright man. But Christians take sin lightly and think nothing of a lie here and there or
of not trusting God and harboring unbelief. Your unbelief might just manifest in a
different way, through your actions or the way that you speak to others.
He was dumb for a long time, until the child was born. The family
wanted to name him Zacharias, but then Elizabeth spoke and said that his name must be
John. They then asked his father and he wrote that his name must be John, and then he
could speak again. All those who witnessed these things were amazed and wondered what
child he would be. He got a different name, a name ordained by God. It should make us
think about what names we give to our children.
This story also reveals Gods power. It also reveals to us
how Gods grace and mercy was at work in his life, and also in the life of the
parents. These parents were blessed indeed. Even while his mother was carrying him,
Gods grace was at work in his life. It also reminds us of the birth of Jesus. Now
John grew up in the desert and thats where he had his ministry. So the grace of God
at work in that family also spilled over to all those who witnessed it and they marveled
and glorified God. So too when the grace of God works in your life, it will spill over to
those around you.
The Chinese illustration for quarreling is a house with two women
inside. But thats the case when Gods grace is not in that house. When
Gods grace is working you have nothing to hide, it first changes your life, then
your family and then those around you.
Before the Gospel came to Germany they also practiced witchcraft
just like the ancestral worship in Africa. They had various gods that they worshipped, but
then the grace of the Gospel appeared and they were transformed. They drank beer out of a
human skull, but Gods grace changed all that. One cannot even imagine such a thing
any more today. And so too in Africa wherever the grace of God appeared, people are
changed and transformed, young men are reconciled with their parents, and occultism and
ancestral worship come to an end. Families are changed and transformed, and where there
were fighting theres peace now.
Do you know this Gods grace, transforming you, then your
family and finally those with whom you come into contact?