Luke 1:5-25: The Conception of John the Baptist
400 years without a prophet, 400 years without an angelic visit or a miracle. Sure there had been some providential victories in the Maccabean wars, but like the 400 years of captivity in Egypt Israel were in a place of oppression under Roman rule and spiritually poor and in need of light and deliverance. God’s people needed a new Exodus, a new Moses, a new crushing of Pharaoh, a new redemption and ransom from slavery, a new Passover Lamb. And now that time has come in the preparation of the way for the coming of the Messiah with the coming of John the Baptist. The first light of the new dawn bringing in the new age where God is going to fulfil His promises starts in the lives of some regular faithful saints in Zechariah and Elizabeth. Several things strike us as we go through verses 5-25.
- Firstly, we want to appreciate how Zechariah and Elizabeth are typical saints and show us some of the typical ways in which God works in our lives.
- Secondly, we want to note these first descriptions of John the Baptist and how God fulfils prophecy.
- And thirdly, we want to watch the faltering faith of Zechariah in his interaction with the angel Gabriel.
All of this to bring into view the miraculous and wonderful way God works through the lives of ordinary people like Zechariah and Elizabeth, like you and me. So on the one hand what we see here is atypical and will only ever happen once, for the Messiah is only incarnated once and the messenger who prepares the way is only born once; but on the other hand God works in His usual ways, ways in which He is also working in our lives today.