Saturday, December 19, 2020

How Will I Know?

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In our modern times, one can know the joy of having a prayer answered, but with all odds against them, what extreme joy must have been felt by Zacharias and Elisabeth at the news Gabriel brought to them. They would indeed have a son! Zacharias is an old man by this time, and his wife is “well stricken with years.” It’s beyond human hope that this should be happening to them after a lifetime of prayers, and in their old age.

But as Gabriel told Mary in Luke 1:37, “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” When it His Word that is being fulfilled, there is no such thing as “Mission Impossible.” God’s plan will always take precedence over ours; His Will will be done, even if ours is set aside, or denied outright. For Zacharias and Elisabeth, the birth of John the Baptist was a lost hope, that is, until God’s orchestration brought people, places, and times together in a unique combination.

If you have been praying for a Godly purpose, do not give up hope. In such cases, God’s answer is “Not yet!” It is not “No.” And even if you don’t see your prayer answered in your lifetime, the future holds as much promise for us as it did for all those patriarchs who died in faith, not having seen the promises (Hebrews 11:4-13) fulfilled during their lives. James 4:1-5 encourages us to not pray for vain things, and 1 John 5:14 declares if we pray according to His will, He hears us, and will fulfill according to His will.

Do not doubt our God and Lord when it comes to His perfect will, and His purpose. His timing may be awkward for us; Elisabeth went and hid herself for five months, and Zacharias lost his voice! But with John’s birth, Elisabeth’s neighbors and cousins saw how the Lord showed great mercy upon her, and they rejoiced with her! Oh, how excellent is His name! And when naming the child John, as prescribed by the Angel Gabriel, Zacharias showed faith restored in God, his voice returned, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit! Truly nothing shall be impossible for God.

“He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.”  Psalm 113:9

Today's Audio Message: "How Will I Know?" - Luke 1:57-80

This morning, we come to a wonderful passage of scripture. We begin the story of the birth of John the Baptist. A story that shows us how God kept His promise of old, the messenger who would proclaim the arrival of the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world.

The prophecy that God gave through Zacharias comes after 400 years of revelational silence, and fulfills God’s promise in Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me..." John the Baptist is born (Matt. 17:11-13). After centuries of waiting for the fulfillment of this prophecy, the scriptures declare that John is born as “the prophet of the highest,” and God has called him to announce the arrival of the promised Messiah.

John would declare, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Here in this passage of scripture, the story of John’s entry onto the scene of human history, is more amazing evidence of the truth of God’s word. It is the demonstration of God to us that He is faithful to His promise!

When John was born, Zacharias who was made dumb by the angel of the Lord for doubting God, is finally able to speak. He offers praise to God at the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Luke tells us;

Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,

For He has visited and redeemed His people,

And has raised up a horn of salvation for us

In the house of His servant David,

As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,

Who have been since the world began”
(vv. 67-70).
What a glorious picture! The very first thing that Zacharias gives praise to God for was the Lord Jesus who was yet unborn. For it is Jesus who fulfills these verses in Luke. He is the one who has visited and redeemed His people. Jesus is the “horn” (a symbol of kingly power) “of salvation,” and He fulfilled the promise God to King David, that his seed would reign upon his throne, as King, ruling an everlasting kingdom.

The coming of Jesus into this world is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Jesus is the promised Messiah; and by Him God’s chosen people would be delivered, and restored from their years of disobedience to God.

What good news the coming of Jesus is, and this is the good news that John would declare. Our blessed promise, our wonderful Savior, Redeemer, and King has come to save and deliver us from our sin and judgment. He is the promised Savior of the world.

John role filled God’s plan in this world. Scripture reveals little about John, because the focus is is not on God’s vessel, but on God’s only Son. John came to bear witness of the Light - He was not that Light. Jesus is the Light of the world (John 1:6-9).

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