An ancient prophesy of one who was to come before the Messiah is found in Isaiah 40:3 “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'” This prophesy was fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist. His mother Elizabeth and father Zachariah were an aging childless couple. Zachariah’s turn had come to serve in the temple and when he was within the temple the angel Gabriel appeared to him with this message. “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you are to give him the name 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 from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the heard of the father s to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous- to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:11-17 Both messages tell of one who was going to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus. John preached repentance and baptized with water proclaiming the coming of one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
What does this tell us about God? Looking within this miraculous story you find a barren woman, Elizabeth, that longed for a child, an angel delivering a message and a father who served the Lord faithfully as a priest. The coming of John was not an accident but a well placed event in the preparation for Jesus’ entry into the world. God is capable of creating and making these events happen. But the attribute I saw today in this story was one of Grace. God was gracious to Elizabeth by granting her a child in her old age. He was gracious to both of them by sending them a child with a mission and purpose for His kingdom. God was gracious to all mankind in sending John to prepare the way for His Son to minister to the world. He was gracious to John that he was related to Jesus, his cousin, and had a place in the greatest event in history-the coming of the Messiah.
God is gracious which means He shows kindness to those who do not deserve it. He is slow to anger and longs to forgive people. God shows grace to all people. He gives life, families, sunshine, rain music, talents, etc. as good gifts even to people who do not love Him. Elizabeth and Zachariah were chosen by God’s grace to be the parents of John, the fore-runner of Jesus who would bring life and hope to all mankind.
How have you felt God’s grace in your life? Has He favored you in ways you do not deserve? Use this example of Grace to spark your thinking about how He has been gracious to you. Begin this Advent season with an attitude of Thankfulness for the God of all Grace that loved you beyond measure and sent His son to save you. God is indeed gracious.
Living in a state of Grace,