Set Apart

Read: Luke 1:5-16

For he will be great before the Lord. (v. 15)

Imagine that you are Zechariah, a respected priest enjoying a long marriage to an equally respected spouse, but unable to have a child. You’ve prayed again and again that God would allow your wife to conceive. You’re going about your work in the temple when suddenly you’re visited by an angel. You’re overcome with fear, but the angel says, “Do not be afraid” (v. 13). The angel then announces that you and your wife will have a son. If that weren’t enough, you’re told: “Many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord . . . and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God” (vv. 14-16). How would you feel? What a powerful revelation! All of this was part of God’s perfect plan.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll look closely at the biblical passages that tell us about this son, John the Baptist. Each of the Gospels tell parts of John’s story, including his birth, time in the wilderness, baptism of Jesus, imprisonment, and death. As we move through the Gospels we’ll see how God used John to point to Jesus and how he wants to use us to do the same. At a dark time in Israel’s history, when some may have wondered if God had given up on his people, the promised Messiah came. As we get closer to Christmas, people need to hear about Jesus. How can you share good news and point others to him?

As you pray, ask God to use you in the season ahead to impact the lives of others.

About the Author

Steve Petroelje

Rev. Steve Petroelje is a specialized transition pastor who serves vacant churches and helps them assess health, pursue missional effectiveness, and conduct a pastoral search process. He is the past-president of the Words of Hope Board of Trustees.

This entry is part 1 of 15 in the series Prepare the Way