“It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” (Luke 1:17-18)
God sent an angel to Zacharias to tell him that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child. The angel also told Zacharias to name this child John and that he would turn many Israelites back to God as a forerunner for Christ. Even though Zacharias was a priest, he did not believe what the angel said as he and his wife were then old, and as a result, he was silenced and unable to speak. Miraculously, Elizabeth became pregnant, and a child was born. The couple knew what to name him: John. Zacharias believed that God would use John to prepare His ways.
As believers, we sometimes have doubts, like Zacharias. When situations do not seem right in our eyes, we doubt God’s plan. From creation, God had planned to redeem His relationship with mankind. He used many Old Testament prophets to reveal this plan: to send the Messiah who would save people from their sins. In God’s plan, John was to prepare the way for Christ.
This God, who called John for His purposes, is the same God who calls us today. Again, sometimes we doubt God’s calling in our lives because of confusing situations we encounter every day. However, when we put aside our limited perspective and remember how God has been faithful, we have hope—hope that the calling we received will be fulfilled even though we may be too young or too old or have limited resources or abilities. Let’s embrace that hope and keep praying that we, like John, will glorify God and His kingdom.
-Written for the JBU devotional book, “Reflections for Advent (2017).”
Picture: The Preaching of St. John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder