The Birth of John is Good News
THE BIRTH OF JOHN (Luke 1:57-66)
I- When John the Baptist was born, Elizabeth & Zechariah, the neighbors & relatives experienced 3 things:
1- God’s great mercy: For the neighbors & relatives, God’s mercy was great because He blessed the barren woman with a child in her old age. The mercy of God was great for this family.
For Elizabeth & Zechariah, God’s mercy was great not only to their family but also to the whole world, because God’s Promise was fulfilled and the Messiah was close to come.
2- Joy: The neighbors & relatives shared Elizabeth’s joy because she bore a son.
Elizabeth & Zechariah’s joy was greater, especially in the Presence of Mary, whose presence reminded them that the birth of John was a clear sign of the coming of the Messiah.
3- The name: The neighbors & relatives wanted to name the child Zechariah.
Elizabeth & Zechariah wanted to call him John = God’s compassion, because God had fulfilled His Promise. The prophecies of old were fulfilled. God’s compassion was revealed in Jesus Christ. God sent His only Son to save the world.
II- What will this child turn out to be? Who was John?
1- God’s messenger: John was sent to prepare the Lord’s way (Mark 1:2).
2- A voice of one that cries in the desert. Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight (Matthew 3:3).
3- A hermit: He wore a garment of camel-skin and he lived on locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6). He didn’t eat or drink.
4- A baptizer: This is why he was called the Baptist. All the people of Jerusalem made their way to him and as they were baptized by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins (Mark 1:5). His baptism was a preparation for the baptism brought by Jesus. “I baptize you in water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11).
5- A witness to Christ: He came as a witness to bear witness to the light (John 1:7). “Look, there is the lamb of God” (John 1:36).
6- A prophet with the power of Elijah: “I am full of jealous zeal for the Lord Sabaoth, because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, have torn down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left” (1 Kings 19:10).
7- He directed the repentant & rebuked the non-repentant:
To the people he said: Anyone who has two tunics must share with the one who has none (Luke 3:11).
To the tax collectors: Exact no more than the appointed rate (Luke 3:13).
To the soldiers: No intimidation, no extortion. Be content with your pay (Luke 3:14).
To non-repentant: Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance and do not start telling yourselves “we have Abraham as our father” because I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones (Luke 3:7-8).
Do not start telling yourselves “we are Christians”. This won’t save you. Repent.
III- The necessity for repentance: God sent John to prepare the Lord’s way. “Repent” was his message. We repent so that we could understand Jesus’ message.We repent so that we could receive the Kingdom of God within our hearts.If we still keep some old sins buried somewhere deep down our hearts, we will never be able to understand the will of God in our lives. Confess your sins.
Personal Experience: In 1992, God was giving me a lot of signs. He was working in my life, but I was not able to understand what was going on because deep down in my heart there were a lot of sins forgotten, neve confessed, never forgiven, until I decided to bring them to the Lord confessing them to a priest. I made a general confession. After that… guess what… Amazingly I began to understand the will of God in my life. It became clearer than ever. I understood that He wanted me to be a disciple, a missionary. Without repentance (confession), we would never be able to understand Christ’s message and accept His Kingdom in our hearts.
IV- God’s promise in my life:
The birth of John is Good News to each one of us. It means that God’s promise to man can certainly be fulfilled. His promise (that I would become a missionary, a saint, a spiritual director, a witness to Christ, a teacher, a voice that cries in the desert) can be fulfilled.When God’s promise is fulfilled in your life, you’ll experience 3 things:
1- God’s great mercy to the world because many will come to know Christ through you;
2- Joy because the Kingdom of God is at hand and close to many hearts;
3- The name: you will name your mission.