February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, ‘What then is this child going to be?’ For the Lord’s hand was with him.”—Luke 1:66 (NIV)
The birth of John the Baptist was something that got everyone’s attention. From his improbable conception by elderly parents, to the unprecedented choice of his name, to the miraculous power that was poured out on his father . . . it was very clear that this child was part of something special. So much so that the surrounding community wondered about the direction of his destiny. What would this baby grow up to be and do? And over and above all of this, the greatest thing a human life can have: “The Lord’s hand was with him.”
As powerful as all of this is, there’s more to come! The Holy Spirit has something to say about John as well, and He says it through John’s own father Zechariah! Here’s what He has to say: “His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. . . . And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God . . .” (Luke 1:67–78 NIV).
That’s quite a proclamation! Imagine someone making that kind of pronouncement upon you being born: “This is the child that God is going to use in His ultimate plan to set everything straight, to make the way of salvation and forgiveness plain to people!”
Now, we need to make a clear distinction before we move on. John was given a unique calling and commission by God. He’s specifically ordained by God to fulfill a very singular role in His “unfolding drama of redemption.” John was to precede Jesus and prepare hearts with a readiness for repentance that would be needed in order to receive Jesus for who He was. In fact, John is one of the very few people (not named Jesus) to actually be prophesied of in Scripture (Isaiah 40:3). That’s quite an honor bestowed upon John!
That being understood, there’s an aspect of John’s mission that each and every follower of Christ has a share in. We’re different from John, yet similar in the sense that we fulfill a continuation of where John’s ministry ceased. John got things started. He broke the ground of hard hearts by introducing the way of salvation through the Lamb of God. His role on Earth eventually came to an end, but God’s work didn’t end. In many ways, it was only beginning, and so He created the church, us, to continue to work of proclaiming the way of salvation and forgiveness of sins. We do this by pointing back to what John pointed ahead to . . . the Lamb who was sacrificed to take away the guilt of our sin.
The Spirit had something to say through Zechariah, and He has something to say through us as well—and it’s the greatest news that’s ever been given!
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”—2 Corinthians 5:19–20 (NIV)
Pause: How do our lives differ yet mirror the life of John the Baptist?
Practice: Consider ways your life is being used to point to Jesus and what He’s done.
Pray: Lord, we thank You for the incredible honor of serving as Your ambassadors in this world. We know You could have created a more effective way of accomplishing Your work of salvation, but You’ve chosen us to be the bearers of the good news of Your forgiveness. May we be faithful with what You’ve entrusted to us. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.