Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 1:13
“But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.” – Luke 1:13
Up to Christmas day, I will be looking at the different prophesies which foresee the coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ. He came here in order to offer the means of salvation for all. An important idea to remember is that God knows everything and forgets nothing. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10.
This verse is an important one, for it foretells the coming of John the Baptist: the forerunner of the Messiah. “In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.” Luke 1:5. This speaks of a priest named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth. They were both righteous before God, however up to this time they were unable to have children. And now being advanced in years, it was not probable they ever would.
Now while Zacharias was performing his priestly functions, an amazing thing happened. “And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him.” Luke 1:11-12. It is probable that the angel appeared while his eyes were closed, but when he did see him, he became afraid. The angel who appeared to Zacharias was not simply like a man with wings. This angel was a glorious, fearful, and an awesome creature, and like most angels in the Bible, the first thing this angel had to say to his human contact was “Do not be afraid.”
Then the angel tells Zacharias in our focus verse. “Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.” Luke 1:13. The angel told them they would have a child. And they were told they were to name him John. And according to Thayer’s Hebrew dictionary, his name means “Jehovah is a gracious giver”. Then Gabriel went on to say, “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:14-17.
Zacharias and Elizabeth had their prayer answered. In their old age, they shall have a son. Their son would be seen as great in God’s sight. He will probably live under the Nazirite vow due to not drinking wine or strong drink. He also would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. This has the idea that he was appointed to and set apart to the work God called him to before he was born. We see the same with the prophet Jeremiah. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5. And even more so, of Jesus. “Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. Upon Thee I was cast from birth; Thou hast been my God from my mother’s womb.” Psalm 22:9-10.
And finally, we see what his calling was in the gospel of Mark. “As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER BEFORE YOUR FACE, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY; THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT. John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:2-8. John came into this world to prepare the way of the Messiah and to inform Israel of His coming, calling them to repent and be baptized in reference to the remission of sin. Repentance prepared the soul for it, and Baptism was the type or pledge of it.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.