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Dec 03, 2017

And You, Child

And You, Child

Passage: Luke 1:5-25

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Advent 2017

Category: Peace

Keywords: peace

How is God calling you to prepare the way?

Devotional

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins, 
because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”  Luke 1:76-79

These are the words of Zechariah, father of Jesus’ second cousin John who became known as John the Baptist. Jesus’ mother Mary and John’s mother Elizabeth were cousins, and the young Mary, surprised at her pregnancy without an earthly father, visited the older and equally surprised Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Zechariah had basically given up on having any children, until an angel told Zechariah that indeed their prayers had been answered. Their child would be a special child, one who would “bring people back to God, make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (1:17.) Both mothers were carrying special yet unexpected children, both boys, one who would shine on those living in darkness, and one who would prepare the way for the other, who would prepare people to seek and accept God’s light.

This family history gives us insight into God’s way of doing things. First, God always has a plan and a purpose, in this case to provide a forerunner for Jesus and a cousin to counsel and encourage a young Mary. Read the entire first chapter of Luke to witness the sharing of great news between these two women, which highlights the second way that God works. God operates in community, in family, giving us the gift of each other for support and relationship, and to praise together God’s action in our lives. Finally, God is intentional about bringing people to him; He wants nothing more to provide a new, light-filled life for us, because of His tender mercy.

As we come into the time when we celebrate Christ’s birth, we celebrate all the ways God works in our lives, including His plan for us in the family and community where we are privileged to live. John the Baptist’s purpose on earth was to prepare people for Jesus, to clear a path so that others would be open to God’s work. Most of us will not preach the Gospel on a stage or a street corner, but where can we clear a path right where we are? Who needs to experience a touch of God’s tender mercy? What opportunity do we have to share peace with someone today? Where can we be John and prepare the way for Jesus?


Prayer

Loving and Powerful God, guide us today in Your peace and Your purpose. Place us in the place and with the people who need to know you. Give us Your heart to love, and Your words to speak. Amen.

Written by Betsy Hudson. Betsy is Director of Grow Ministries and also is Youth Leader at Arcola Church. She is also engaged in studies at Wesley Seminary.