Luke 1:57-60, 67-80, Mark 1:1-8
Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son. Then her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her his great mercy, and they rejoiced with her. When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day, they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. But his mother responded, “No. He will be called John.”
Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and provided redemption for his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, just as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets in ancient times; salvation from our enemies and from the hand of those who hate us. He has dealt mercifully with our fathers and remembered his holy covenant — the oath that he swore to our father Abraham. He has given us the privilege, since we have been rescued from the hand of our enemies, to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness in his presence all our days. And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight! John came baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “One who is more powerful than I am is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and God orchestrated things so perfectly that He used John as the one who would prepare the way for Jesus. John’s role was to prepare people’s hearts to hear the good news Jesus was about to bring. How does God want to use YOU as a messenger right now to prepare people’s hearts to embrace the love of God?
John’s message was, “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us (Jesus coming), to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79 (NLT) If you’ve ever felt like you were in darkness, walking through the shadow of death or ever needed peace, know this: the light of heaven, Jesus, has come!
God, fill my heart with peace today as I remember that your light has come. May that light fill me up in such a way that, like John, I can’t help but go and prepare the way for others to hear about you!
Start identifying someone younger than you that you can mentor this next year.