His parents waited many years for him to come along. They were a barren couple. No children and now old age had somehow crept in. Until one day, Zechariah received a visit from an angel of the Lord announcing that he would be a father. Oh. Zechariah was so pleased and in disbelief that he was tongue tied. He wasn’t able to speak from that day until his son’s birth announcement. Zechariah was able to announce that his son was to be named John.
The angel told him wonderful things about this child who was to be born. His son would grow to be a man, and would be great in the eyes of the Lord. He was called to a special assignment. He was to prepare the people for the ministry of Jesus Christ.
But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” Luke 1:13-17
John was a voice calling in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. As he taught, the people would ask what they should do. John’s response was straight and to the point. If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry. He told the corrupt tax collectors to collect no more taxes than the government requires. And to the soldiers, he said not to extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.
John knew he was the messenger for the Promised Messiah. He knew there was one coming who was greater than himself. John was comfortable with that. He didn’t try to be the Messiah. He was paving the way for One to come after him. He was the voice calling to the crowds that a new King was coming.
This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written: “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord ’s coming! Clear the road for him!’ ” Mark 1:1-3
Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Mark 16:15
Now we too must share the message of the One who is coming. We too must share the good news of His promised return. Oh. He has already come to the earth as the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. He who was hunted as a child. The twelve year old who knew he must be about his Father’s business. The young man who learned the trade of his earthly father. And at age thirty, he started a ministry that turned the world on its heels. And for three short years, his message rang out for those who would listen.
Oh. He was rejected in his own hometown. People thought he was trying to be someone he wasn’t. After all. He was the son of a carpenter. He wasn’t God. That’s what they said. But little did they know. Little did they believe.
But he was God. And he’s still God. And before he returned to heaven, he suffered and died on a cross. He had a thorn of crowns shoved into his head. His clothes were torn in two. His side was pierced. And with his last breath, he was ushered into heaven to sit at the right hand of his Father. He is waiting there today for all His children.
And today that message is ours to share. We who have repented of our sins and called on his name for forgiveness are now called to share the good news of salvation. We are now the messengers calling others to repentance. Not in a superior tone of voice. But in love and grace. Because just as we have been saved from our sins, we want the world to also share in that forgiveness. But one must ask for this free gift.
The One who is greater than us is returning to gather his people. We don’t know when that day will come, but it’s getting closer. Signs point to the nearness of the time of his return.
Our message today is that there is one coming who is greater than us. Are you ready to meet him?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16