July 21 – His story : Man’s rescue – John the Baptist

Read Luke 1:1-25

Silence…four hundred years of it. That’s what you find between the end of Malachi and the events described in today’s reading. During those years, the Bible gives no record of a voice from heaven, an angelic encounter, or a prophetic admonition.

In spite of the extended silence, however, it seems that God picked up where He left off. Malachi closed with the promised coming of Elijah the prophet and his ministry of turning the hearts of fathers and children towards one another. Luke opens with this prophet’s birth announcement. From the lips of an angel to the ears of an aged and childless priest, the announcement went forth. It is true that he didn’t bear the name of Elijah, but even Jesus referred to him as the fulfiller of Malachi’s promise (Matt. 11:13-15). His name would be John.

John’s ministry was multifaceted. To be sure, his life was one worthy of emulating.

• He had a passion for families…especially for the relationships between fathers and their children (Lk. 1:17). In what ways does your life reflect and encourage that kind of family value?

• He was filled with the Holy Spirit (1:16). Although every believer can be assured of the Spirit’s presence in his/her life, can you honestly say that you daily yield to the Spirit’s control and influence in your life?

• With regard to alcohol consumption, dress, and diet, He was not a conformist to the norms of the day (Lk. 1:14; Matt. 3:3-5). The Bible doesn’t say you have to wear camel skin, eat locusts, or completely abstain from alcohol, but are you conformed to the world or transformed by Christ (Rom. 12:1, 2)?

• He pointed people to the rescuer (Jn. 1:35, 36). Do your words and life direct people to Jesus?

• He was willing to fade into the background for the sake of Christ’s fame (Jn. 3:22-30). Can you be content with decreased notoriety if it means that Christ becomes more prominent?

• He gave his life because of his commitment to righteous living (Jn. 14:1-12). Is your life marked by a steadfast pursuit of holiness?

Steve Kern

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