ScriptureReading: Luke 1:13-17
Let’s return to Zechariah and Elizabeth’snames, what they mean, and add John’s to the mix.
Zechariah = God has remembered.
Elizabeth = God is my oath. (faithfulness)
John = God has been gracious – shown favor
Mental Picture put into words:
God remembered, (Zechariah) bringing life in the womb of faithfulness, (Elizabeth) giving birth to His gracious-favor (John).
he will be great
What is greatness? How do you define greatness?
· Popularity– the envy of others
John had none of this going for him.Culturally speaking:
· Hisfamily were no-bodies from a no-place village.
· Hehad no formal education.
· Hehad no part in any social institutions.
· Hefounded no political movement, nor social cause.
· Hisdress was bizarre and his diet even more so.
· Helived in the dessert and when he began his ministry, he it kept it away fromthe cultural centers.
· Histeaching was filled with condemnation and denunciation for the hypocrisy of thereligious establishment.
· Hiscontinual message was REPENT! A messagethat said your life is going in the wrong direction, you need to turn andchange course
· Wecan sum it up with this statement… John The Baptist was as far from Politically Correct as one can get.
With so much standing against him, howon earth could he be great?
Look at 1 Samuel 16:7. When Gabrielsaid John would be GREAT, he wasn’t talking about “GREAT” as man see’s greatness, but as God see’s it. He was talking about Greatness of soul-spirit.
There was nothing about John externallythat would be called great… on the contrary. People would have said: crazy,eccentric,looser,lunatic.
Consider what Jesus saidabout John. Luke 7:28.
Truth Point: There is pseudo-greatness, what man sees asgreat and genuine greatness, what God sees as great.
GenuineGreatness is the onlykind that matters for it is determined from the perspective of TRUTH and ETERNITY, rather than deception and fleetingtime.
Live as a Nazirite
Gabriel gives Zechariah informationthat indicates God has chosen John to live according to The Nazirite Vow. Some werechosen by God for this as a life-long practice, others volunteered otherssimply volunteered for a specified period of time.
· Samson is likely the most well-knownNazirite.
· Samuel also lived under the Nazirite Vow.
· The Apostle Paul lived under the vow twice for a shortperiod of time.
Three outwardsigns of the vow were:
1. NothingFermentedwas to be consumed.
2. Nocutting ofthe hair.
3. Nocontactwith any dead body, human or otherwise.
Gabriel’s strict andspecific instruction that John was to have nocontact with Alcohol was an indicatorthat God had chosen him to live under the NazariteVow.
Filled with Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Personof The Godhead who energizes the works of God. Even Jesus, The Son of God, required The Holy Spirit to move in andthrough Him to do the miraculous works He did.
We find something very special withJohn. Gabriel told Zechariah that John would be …filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
If you know anything about BibleDoctrines of Salvation and Sanctification, no one is born with savinggrace upon them, nor with the indwelling power and presence of The Holy Spirit.
Doctrinal Point: To have The Spirit within you requiresrepentanceand faith inJesus. What does it mean that John wouldbe filled by The Spirit, even in his mother’s womb?
In this one specific case, in light of what Christwould do through the cross, and resurrection, and in light of John’s ministryto prepare the pathway for The Messiah, it seems that God elected to impute redeeming grace upon John before he wasborn.
Could it be that when John (in Elizabeth’s womb) encountered Jesus (in Mary’s womb) that theprophecy Gabriel brought from God was fulfilled? Was he at that moment filled with The Spirit?Could it be that Elizabeth was filled as a residual effect of John’s filling?
TruthPoint: Both John andJesus were chosen byThe Father to kick-off and complete His work of redemption. Both experienced many extraordinarythings that are not normal or common to the human experience.
Gabriel prophesied John would beempowered by The Spirit, even from his mother’s womb, and this had nothing todo with John’s being good, bad or indifferent. It had everything to do withGod’s sovereign will to give him grace and endue him with spiritual power by HisSpirit.
There is a reason that John would needthis endowment of grace… He would take up the ministry that the Prophet Malachi spoke about in Malachi 4:5-6
John was NOT Elijah reincarnated, but he came to Israel in the spirit ofElijah, calling out sin, confrontinghypocrisy, and urging the people to turn from dead religion to a living faithin God.
John’s ministry and message was onethat people responded to…
…it brought a change of heart where whole familieswere coming under the leadership and grace of God.
…it brought about a change of priorities as parents sawtheir role in leading their children in the ways of God and children began tovalue their parent’s love and guidance.
…it opened eyesto the false wisdom of man and the true wisdom of God, served as the foundationof preparation for The Messiah’s redemptive work.