Bible Reading: Luke 1:5-56
Yesterday we looked at the Word who became flesh. God walked among us. You can check that post out here: Who Is He? The Word.
Today, I want to turn our attention to some miracle kids. Two kids actually. John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ.
John the Baptist
As I mentioned before, Gabriel is assigned with announcing the birth of two boys. The first birth, or really conception, is announced to Zechariah the husband of Elizabeth.
Luke 1:5–25 (ESV)
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
What was so amazing about this birth is that it was almost a perfect reflection of Abram and Sarai (Abraham and Sarah). Except, this time, the husband was the one who “laughs.” Actually, Zechariah just doesn’t believe Gabriel, which is pretty much what Sarah did when she laughed at the news of becoming pregnant in her old age.
Before Zechariah is silenced, the angel Gabriel tells him what his future son is to do. The ministry of John the Baptist would be to make a way for the coming King by preparing Israel for the Christ. We see thirty years later that he began to baptize people while proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” This was a clear fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah 40:3-5.
So, Zechariah in his unbelief is shut-up for 9 months until the child, John, was born to an aging couple well past the years of conception.
Jesus the Christ
Gabriel had another assignment though. He went to another woman to inform her of something even more miraculous than the forerunner being born to an aging couple. This message was for a very young woman, probably between 13 and 16 years-old. The message to this woman, Mary, was that she would give birth to a son without the aid of a human father.
Luke 1:26–38 (ESV)
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Who was this child to be? Verse 35 says, “the Son of God.” This was to be no ordinary child. Where Zechariah and Elizabeth in their old age would conceive a son through ordinary means by the grace of God, Mary would conceive without a father through the power of the Most High. John the Baptist would be this child’s forerunner. He would prepare a way for this child. This child was to be called holy. He was the Son of God. He was to be called Jesus, which in the Hebrew and the now the Greek transliterated name means the LORD saves his people. This child, the Word made flesh, the Son of God, is the promised Messiah! No ordinary child at all!
God is fulfilling his covenant to his servant David! He is establishing an eternal heir for David’s kingdom through this soon to be born baby boy, Jesus.
Mary responds to Gabriel, just as Zechariah did, with a question. This question is not full of doubt, but of more information about the things she was told. Instead of being silenced, she is answered and the answer, as mentioned above, is glorious! The glorious promises of God were being promised to come about through a humble young lady. She did not have anything to offer God but her praise after hearing the great news! What else could you give to God after hearing such things!?!
Two boys were born. One was the forerunner to the Messiah as prophesied in Isaiah. The other boy was no ordinary boy. He was fully God and fully man. He is the Son of God! Jesus Christ.