Luke 1: John the Baptist
This chapter or ‘account’ was written to Theophilus (which means ‘Friend of God’) Because of the use “…most excellent…” (Luke 1:3), Theophilus seems to be an actual personage.;
In the days of Herod, who was the King of Judaea, a priest named Zacharias had a wife [Elisabeth], who was barren. While attending to his duties in the temple, Zacharias had an angel appear before him and speak to him; “…Fear not, Zacharias; for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John [John the Baptist].” (Luke 1:13) The angel assures Zacharias that his son will bring him great joy and “…he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15) Why would John the Baptist be great in the sight of the Lord? Because he was pre-ordained to do so. Because of his calling and the ability to keep the presence of the Holy Ghost he would not drink wine or strong drink, why? Because these substances would only cloud his ability to feel the spirit of the Lord.
Zacharias explains to the angel that he is an old man and his wife is “…well stricken in years.” (Luke 1:18). The angel introduces himself as Gabriel and assures Zacharias that this will come to pass, but Gabriel tells Zacharias that he will not be able to speak until the day of his son’s birth. Months go by and Elisabeth conceives a son.
The angel Gabriel then goes to the city of Galilee, named Nazareth and appears to the virgin Mary, telling her that she will bear a son and his name shall be Jesus, who will “…be called the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32). Mary visits Elisabeth (who are cousins), Mary is perplexed because she has not known a single man (meaning she is a virgin), yet she is now pregnant. Elisabeth is filled with the Holy Ghost and tells Mary; “…Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” (Luke 1:42)
After John was born, eight days later they came to circumcise the baby and called him ‘Zacharias’, but both Zacharias and Elisabeth refused and said that the child would be called ‘John’ and being filled with the Holy Ghost, Zacharias proclaims that his son shall be called; “…the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins. Through the tender mercy of our God… To give light to them that sit in darkness…” (Luke 1:76-79)
We end by learning about John the Baptist and how he “…grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.” (Luke 1:80)