On Monday, June 24, the Christian Church celebrates the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
All births and infancies are unique and special. This holds true, especially, concerning St. John the Baptist. He came into being, shrouded in mystery and miracle. The Priest Zechariah, had been chosen by lot to served in Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem. To many, it seemed like simply a random outcome. But in reality, the Almighty had already decided that the Priest Zechariah would serve in Herod’s Temple, and that he and his wife, Elizabeth, who were both, “Upright in the sight of God” (Luke 1:6a, meaning that they believed in the Promised Messiah) were going to be the father and mother of St. John the Baptist.
While the Priest Zechariah served in Herod’s Temple, and Angel of God appeared and stood on the right side of the altar. The Angel told Zechariah not to be afraid, and that his prayer had been heard (and was about to be answered by God). He and his wife, Elizabeth were going to have a baby boy, and they were to name him “John”. He would be great before the Lord. He would turn the hearts of many of the children of Israel back to God. He would also be the forerunner of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the very Messiah. St. John the Baptist would do the turning, through the preaching of the Law, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”, followed by the Gospel, “Come and be Baptized in River Jordan for the forgiveness of your sins”. In doing this, the people of God were cleansed and purified, and made read to receive Jesus as their King.
It was awesome news. The Priest Zechariah, and his wife, Elizabeth, were at long last going to have a child. Also, the long awaited, promised Messiah, was about to appear.
But then, the rational mind of Zechariah kicked into gear. This is impossible he thought. Elizabeth is too old to conceive and bear children. Doubts and fears filled the heart and mind of Zechariah. He did not believe the word and promise of God. So, the Angel told Zechariah, that he would not be able to speak until all things had happened. And it was so.
Lest we think too badly of Zechariah, the same thing also happens to us. Sometimes the words and promises of God seem too abstract and impossible for us in the midst of the hard cold reality in which we live. Yet, our God always keeps all of His promises no matter what, even in the midst of our doubts and fears.
St. John the Baptist went on to leap for joy in womb of Elizabeth when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visited Elizabeth. The faithful always are filled with joy when in presence of the Lord.
St. John the Baptist was unique and set aside for a special purpose. The same is also true for you and me.
Have a Great June Pastor Brad Rick