Summary: The birth of John the Baptist puts a different spin on the birth of Jesus. We get to see the birth and life of Jesus through the eyes of relatives who were going through the same odd happenings
Falling in love with Jesus
A closer look
Based on the book with the same name by Rubel Shelly
ILL: History tells us that early in the nineteenth century the whole world was watching with bated breath the campaigns of Napoleon. There was talk everywhere of marches, invasions, battles, and bloodshed as the French dictator pushed his way through Europe. Babies were born during that time. But who had time to think about babies or to care about cradles and nurseries when the international scene was as tumultuous as it was? Nevertheless, between Trafalgar and Waterloo there stole into this world a veritable host of heroes whose lives were destined to shape all of humanity. But again I ask, who had time to think about babies while Napoleon was on the move?
Well, someone should have.
Let’s take the year 1809. Internationally, everyone was looking at Austria, because that was where blood was flowing freely. In one campaign after another that year, Napoleon was sweeping through Austria. Nobody cared about babies in 1809. But when you check the record, you realize the world was overlooking some terribly significant births.
Take, for example, William Gladstone. Gladstone was destined to become on of the finest statesmen that England ever produced. In that same year Alfred Tennyson was born to an obscure minister and his wife. Tennyson would one day greatly affect the literary world in a marked manner. Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1809. And not far away in Boston, Edgar Allen Poe began his eventful, albeit tragic, life. It was also in that same year -- 1809 -- that a physician named Darwin and his wife named their child Charles Robert. And it was that same year that the cries of a newborn infant could be heard from a rugged log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. The baby’s name? Abraham Lincoln.
If there had been news broadcasts at that time, I’m certain these words would have been heard: "The destiny of the world is being shaped on an Austrian battlefield today." Or was it?
Funny, only a handful of history buffs today could name even two or three of the Austrian campaigns. Looking back, you and I realize that history was actually being shaped in the cradles of England and America as young mothers held in their arms the shakers and the movers of the future. No one could deny that 1809 was, in fact, the genesis of an era.
The same could be said of the time when Jesus of Nazareth was born. No one in the entire Roman Empire could have cared less about the birth of that Jewish infant in Bethlehem. Rome ruled the world. That’s where history was being made! Or was it?
Dr. Luke was as careful with his study of history as he was with his practice of medicine. In the Gospel that bears his name, he provides for us several dependable, helpful facts. We can look up these facts and realize that if never before, at least at that time, God chose things that seemed to be terribly insignificant to put to shame the things that seemed highly important.
ƒÞ Growing Deep in the Christian Life, by Charles Swindoll
The birth of John the Baptist puts a different spin on the birth of Jesus. We get to see the birth and life of Jesus through the eyes of relatives who were going through the same odd happenings that had surrounded Mary and Joseph. Zechariah and Elizabeth are the proud parent’s of John, who would later be called The Baptist, new parents who are allowed to see into the future and understand that there was hope, a great hope coming to the world.
Don¡¦t ever lose the wonder and mystery of Christmas.
Every year I¡¦m reminded of those words of the late Peter Marshall: ¡§When Christmas doesn¡¦t make your heart swell up until it nearly bursts and fill your eyes with tears and make you all soft and warm inside then you will know that something is not right.
Zechariah¡¦s response to the birth of John
A. Traditionally, a baby boy would be named after his father or someone else in the family; so the relatives and neighbors were shocked when Elizabeth insisted on the name John. Zacharias wrote ¡§His name is John¡¨ on a tablet, and that settled it! Immediately God opened the old priest¡¦s mouth, and he sang a hymn that gives us four beautiful pictures of what the coming of Jesus Christ to earth really means.
1. The word redeem means ¡§to set free by paying a price.¡¨ It can refer to the releasing of a prisoner or the liberating of a slave. Jesus Christ came to earth to bring ¡§deliverance to the captives¡¨ (Luke 4:18), salvation to people in bondage to sin and death. Certainly we are unable to set ourselves free; only Christ could pay the price necessary for our redemption (Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-21).