We all dream big for our children. My husband Lee and I pray for our sons, and future children, every day. When will they come to know the Lord? What will their gifts and talents be? Will my sweet boys go to China to be missionaries or live near momma? Will they like my meatloaf or only ask for chocolate chip cookies when they come home to visit?
Elizabeth and Zacharias knew God’s purpose for their son even before he was born. Zacharias was told John would be the forerunner of Christ and that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15).
When Mary visited her relative Elizabeth who was six months pregnant, the babe leaped in Elizabeth’s womb! (Luke 1:44). Even before he was born, John was unique. He would play a special role in God’s redemptive story.
John would turn many of the children of Israel back to the Lord their God. John’s ministry was closely intertwined with Jesus’. John baptized Jesus (Matthew 3). Andrew, one of Jesus’ disciples, had previously been part of John’s ministry. And when there was a dispute among John’s disciples, he told them, “[Christ] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
What can we learn from the life of John?
Primarily, if we follow the Lord, we will also be different from the world. James 4:4 pointedly says, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself and enemy of God.”
We should strive to lead lives that imitate Christ in every action, decision, and relationship. Author Sally Clarkson writes, “Jesus’ work in a person’s life has always begun with a call to leave behind the goals, purposes, and distractions of this world and say yes to a whole new life, a new way of thinking. ”
John’s life and even the events that caused his death are evidence of a life lived with one purpose in mind–to point people to Christ. May we all live with that purpose in mind!
image: Fra Angelico: The Annunciation (via ArtBible)