Summary: In today's lesson we learn how God fulfills his promise.
Today we will study the birth of John the Baptist as it is set forth in Luke 1:57-66. Regarding the birth of John the Baptist, Bible commentator Philip Ryken says:
The opening chapters of Luke are like a duet from an oratorio. One voice begins to sing, followed by another, and then the two voices harmonize. For a while the second voice is silent while the first voice sings alone. Then the first voice leaves off and the second carries the music until finally the song ends with a chorus of angels.
The first melody we hear belongs to John the Baptist. It is the promise of his birth, given to his father Zechariah by an angel, fully believed only by his mother Elizabeth. Then we hear the song of the Savior: the virgin Mary will give birth to the Son of God. When the two mothers meet, their melodies harmonize into one song. But after three months Elizabeth is ready to give birth, and Mary goes back to Nazareth. It is time again to sing the song of John the Baptist.
Let us now read about the birth of John the Baptist in Luke 1:57-66:
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 1:57-66)
There is usually great excitement when a couple conceives a child. This is very true if the couple has had difficulty conceiving.
Then, after the conception, there are the months of preparation and excitement as the couple awaits the arrival of the child. Finally, the child is born, and there is further joy at the birth of that child. Parents love to celebrate with others following the safe arrival of the newborn child.
Luke devotes a significant portion of his Gospel to the conception and birth of two boys. The reason he does so is because both mothers conceived these boys in unusual ways. Elizabeth conceived her son John when she was old and well beyond the age of bearing children. And Mary conceived her son Jesus when she was a young teenager without the intervention of a human father. Both boys were given to their mothers by the promise of God.
In the account regarding the birth of John the Baptist, as he will become known, Luke shows us how God fulfills his promise.