Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.”
Long before Franklin Graham conducts an outreach in a city, he sends an “Advance Team” to get things ready. The team communicates with churches, conducts training sessions, and holds prayer meetings. They work to prepare the hearts and minds of people for a time when they will hear the Gospel. That “ministry model” is not new. It was first used to prepare the world for Jesus.
Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, had been unable to have children and were well past the normal childbearing years. They had given up hope until the angel, Gabriel came and communicated the startling news. They would have a boy and call him John. The divine purpose of this child’s life was to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus. God’s “Advance Team” was led by John the Baptist.
Over the next few days we will get familiar with this man who had a special assignment from God. Really though, John’s purpose was no different than ours. You and I are uniquely called to prepare our worlds for Jesus – our homes, schools, places of work, neighborhoods. Here’s the solemn question: Are we living our lives in a way that attracts people to Jesus?
Father, my words and actions echo through my world. Protect my heart, mind and mouth. Help me prepare those in my sphere of influence for Your Son and the eternal life that comes only through Him. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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