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The Ministry of John the Baptist

Today’s reading: Mark 15:42-Luke 1:56

My selection: Luke 1:14-17

14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

My reflections: John’s life purpose and work was spelled out to his father, Zacharias the priest, by the angel of the Lord. As the last of the prophets, John would be charged with preparing people for the coming of the Lord, that is, Jesus Christ. His ministry was extremely important, and it would be successful, unlike so many of the previous prophets of the Old Testament era whose messages were largely ignored or rejected. John would do all this because he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, so much so that even in his mother’s womb he would rejoice when Jesus, also in His mother’s womb, would come near to him.

What kind of preparation was needed by the nation that was about to receive the Messiah? We get a clue in the phrase “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just…” There needed to be a change in the hearts of negligent fathers and rebellious fools.

My challenge: The generation gap did not begin in America in the 20th Century. It existed since the first family. Pray that God will prepare people today for the Lord, who will return in judgment, that they may see their negligence as fathers and mothers and the folly of their ways. Without a clear sense of sin, there will be a foolish presumption of innocence even in the face of impending judgment.

Tomorrow’s reading: Luke 1:57-2:52

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