Monday, June 25, 2012

Luke 1:57-66, 80 The Birth of John the Baptist

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
"No. He will be called John."
But they answered her,
"There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name,"
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
"What, then, will this child be?"
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.

In this passage we are given a glimpse into the life of John the Baptist. Luke makes it very clear that John's birth is connected to God's saving hand in humanity. John's birth parallels that of Abraham and Sarah. Just as Sarah was barren so too Elizabeth. It is only possible through the grace of God that they are able to have children in their late years. We also learn that John grew up in the desert which matches the biography of him found in the other gospels as being an ascetic who lived in the desert and baptized people.

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