Saturday, 20 December 2014 10:45
(BY: ATTY. BATAS MAURICIO) LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS:“… `Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John’...” (Luke 1:13, the Holy Bible).
THE THIRD ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT: It is commonly believed that, as far as the New Testament of the Bible is concerned, the birth of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, was heralded first by the angel’s appearance to Mary, the chosen virgin, and Joseph, her would-be husband. A reading of Luke 1 however will reveal that there is another story in the New Testament that announced, much earlier, the coming of Jesus.
This third story is actually the birth of John the Baptist, who appeared to be a “cousin” of Jesus (John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Mary, the mother Jesus, were cousins). John was the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, both old and barren and, at that point, were childless. The couple were both godly Israelites, descended from Aaron, the priest. Zechariah was in fact a priest whose duties included ministering at the altar.
One day, as he went to the Altar, Zechariah was met by Gabriel, “the angel who stands in the presence of God.” Zechariah became very afraid, but Gabriel told him he must not be afraid because his prayers had been answered by God, as, in her old age, his wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son who will be named John.
JOHN WAS TO MAKE PEOPLE PREPARED FOR THE LORD: Zechariah expressed doubt at the words of Gabriel and asked, “How can I be assured of this? I am an old man and my wife is too old, too.” Stung and evidently hurt, the angel told Zechariah he is an angel of God, and that because the priest did not believe what was told him about John, he, Zechariah, would not be able to speak.
The point of interest in this story is the announcement that John was going to be born because he was mandated to make ready a people prepared for Jesus Christ. Let us see the New International Version of that story, which appears at Luke 1:12-17.
It goes like this, with Gabriel speaking to Zechariah: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.
“He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
“And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord’…”
ARE WE PREPARED FOR CHRISTMAS 2014? And so, as the entire Christendom prepares for Christmas 2014, it is well to ask and ponder: have we become a people prepared for the Lord? Are we heeding John’s purpose—are parents’ hearts turned to their children now, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous? Surely, all of what John set out to do, the very reason he was sent ahead of Jesus, could be used in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus? Are we prepared yet?
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