It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
- John 3:29-30, NLT
Even before his birth, John the Baptist was joyfully preparing the way for Jesus Christ to begin His ministry on earth. John's parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were seen as righteous in the sight of God and both came from priestly lineages. They were childless into their old age because Elizabeth was not able to conceive. However, Zechariah continued to pray for his wife to have a child. While it seemed impossible, their faith was much larger than any doubts and they fully trusted the Lord to provide for them. As Zechariah was praying one day, an angel of the Lord appeared to him with great news:
“Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” - Luke 1:13-14, NLT
Of course, Zechariah and Elizabeth were ecstatic at the news. They rejoiced in the Lord for providing them with the child they so longed for. The story of the birth of John the Baptist is one where the key theme of “joy” cannot be overlooked.
The angel also revealed to Zechariah how John would prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He would be filled with the Holy Spirit and turn hearts to the attention of the One who deserves much more glory than himself - Jesus.
While Elizabeth’s pregnancy was extremely unlikely and was only made possible by God, there was another story happening around the same time that was even more significant. Soon after the angel of the Lord appeared before Elizabeth, an angel appeared to Mary, a young virgin living in a town called Nazareth, and told her that she would give birth to the Messiah, or Savior of God’s people. Mary promptly rushed to Judea and visited Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth was greeted by Mary, the baby in her womb leaped for joy! Already, John the Baptist was preparing the way for someone much greater than himself.
As John grew older and entered into his ministry, he was exalted by others because of the faithful work he was doing to prepare the path for the Lord. However, he was quick to give that glory to Jesus. He understood that he was sent to prepare the way for Christ and lived his entire life pointing others towards a power much greater than his own. His ultimate goal was for Christ to become greater, and himself to become less (John 3:30).
As we go throughout the day, I pray that we might be able to point others towards Christ because of the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit that has taken place in our own lives.
1. What is something that Christ has done in your life that you can have joy about? Take a moment to thank God and rejoice in His power.
2. What are some ways you can show others the power of the Holy Spirit in your life to give glory to Christ?
Jesus, thank You for the many blessings You have given me. As I go out today, help me to reveal Your power to those around me by sharing my story and rejoicing in my salvation. Whatever I do, I pray that it exalts You and humbles me. You deserve all of the glory! I love You. Amen.
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