Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Even though set in the midst of the story which takes us to Bethlehem, the birth of John the Baptist has its own drama. If you could ignore the content and just count the verses pertaining to John and the verses pertaining to Jesus in the first chapter of Luke, the first time reader might wonder about the main character of the story. One of the places where the John drama reaches it high point is in the 76th verse of that first chapter of Luke. Filled with the Spirit and speaking prophetically, Zechariah, the father of John, speaks of his first born, "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people..." It is clear from the story that this father knew his son belonged to the Lord.
Over the years I have watched other fathers and mothers as they gave their children to the Lord. Such is the essence of what we are doing as we bring them up in a world where faith in Christ is supremely important. Sometimes those children end up taking that faith so seriously that it puts them in some kind of full time ministry as adults. I have watched more than one set of parents immersing their sons and daughters in such a life of faith within the church and wondered if they realized they were not rearing children to be like other children. Instead of becoming community power brokers, their children were more likely to become Christ's servants. Not every Mom and Dad really wants their child to wear the mantle of a servant instead of the prestige of the professional money maker in the community.
Zechariah knew his son. He knew His God. He knew the two would be inseparable and he became a partner in what God wanted to do in the life of one he so longed to have in his own life. Turning loose of those we love the most is a hard thing to do. Ask any parent. Ask the Father who watched His Son be born midst the smell of an animal's stall.