When we last left Elizabeth it was right around the time her son would be born. Today we are picking up there with the birth of John the Baptist.
Luke 1:57-66 (NKJV)
Birth of John the Baptist
Circumcision of John the Baptist
59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66 And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.
I can only imagine how Elizabeth was feeling. The day she dreamed of had finally come and gone. Her son, John, is born and now not only is it circumcision day but also the day he is officially named. Can you imagine how blessed she feels when her friends, family and neighbors gather together to help her celebrate her son and name him? Of course they all thought that she was crazy when she chose to name him John rather than any other name that had been part of the family history before.
Then when they try to get Zechariah on their side with naming this child he writes on a tablet that his name is John. I could almost hear an audible gasp by the crowd. Not only that but all of a sudden Zechariah’s obedience to the Angel loosed his tongue and now he can speak. The first thing he does is praise the Lord. If I was in His shoes I think I would do the same. After all, he and Elizabeth just had a baby in their old age. He had wonderful things to praise God for.
The next thing that comes out of Zechariah’s mouth is now a prophecy over his young son.
Luke 1:67-79 (NKJV)
67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited[a]us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
What a powerful note for our visit with Zechariah and Elizabeth to end on. A prophecy of their son’s future. After this we do not hear of Zechariah and Elizabeth again. Their lives from this point on are not written down in scripture. Later when John is an adult we pick up the story with him but that is another story for another day.
When we last left Mary she had returned home from her three month visit with Elizabeth and Joseph’s story had not even begun yet. Now we are going to find out about Joseph’s reaction and what he does in this story.
Matthew 1:18-25New King James Version (NKJV)
Christ Born of Mary
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.[a] And he called His name Jesus.
Joseph seems to be a kind man. When he “found” that she was pregnant he didn’t want to humiliate her so he was going to divorce her quietly. He didn’t wish to see her harmed in any way. Yet like Mary he received a message from a visitor from heaven. But unlike Mary it was in the form of a dream. God didn’t need to have an Angel to appear in the room to him in order for Joseph to be obedient. All He had to do was speak to Him and He did so in a dream. God must have known that Joseph would be receptive to Him. I can imagine that maybe its because Joseph was a praying man and knew the voice of the Lord from experience. Regardless, Joseph obeyed the Lord and in so doing Mary was redeemed.
Mary was a very blessed woman to have a man that was willing to sacrifice his own reputation for her. I would think that he must have cared for her very much.
Can you imagine giving up your own agenda in order to do what God has called you to do? Not many today are willing to do that. Especially if it means that it could cause you to look bad in other’s eyes.
God had chosen the right young couple for the job he had for them. Regardless of the problems that could arise they were both willing to sacrifice their wants and desires for His.