When you read this title what was the first thing that came to mind? Depending on your age, your answer may be different. We all start off being known as the daughter/son of Mr. and Mrs. _(fill in blank)_, then you may become the wife/husband of _______, and finally you could be the mother/father of _______. My wife and I have this running joke that once we had children we stopped being called by our name to our daughter’s school population…we are now refereed to all the time as ______’s mother/father. But there is another person we belong to which we will delve into in today’s Reason for the Season. But first, let’s look at, Zechariah’s Prophecy – Luke 1:67-80 (NLT)
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited and redeemed his people.
He has sent us a mighty Savior
from the royal line of his servant David,
just as he promised
through his holy prophets long ago.
Now we will be saved from our enemies
and from all who hate us.
He has been merciful to our ancestors
by remembering his sacred covenant—
the covenant he swore with an oath
to our ancestor Abraham.
We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live.
“And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”
John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.”
I love this picture of a Father speaking over their child and prophesying of a rich future for his son. John Piper made this powerful point about Zechariah’s Prophecy in his “Good News of Great Joy | Daily Readings for Advent Devotional,”
“Notice two remarkable things from these words of Zechariah in Luke 1. First, nine months earlier, Zechariah could not believe his wife would have a child. Now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he is so confident of God’s redeeming work in the coming Messiah that he puts it in the past tense. For the mind of faith, a promised act of God is as good as done. Zechariah has learned to take God at his word and so has a remarkable assurance: “God has visited and redeemed!”
In ★ Day 06 – Reason for the Season – Christmas Should Change Us ★ we looked at how our faith in God’s plan will change us, and clearly today we can see that is the case for Zachariah! That quote from John Piper hit me hard. I have read this passage so many times but never caught that Zachariah used the past tense that…“the God of Israel, visited and redeemed his people.” Indeed that is what Jesus has done for us but for Zechariah to prophesy that it was in the past is a picture of incredible faith! I believe that was a result because Zechariah understood fully “who he belonged to”…God the Father in heaven who showed great love and faithfulness in giving him and Elizabeth a much longed for son! In that culture, if you did not have a child it was considered a curse, which people believed you had sin in your life and as a result, barrenness was a punishment. Luke 1:24-25 (NASB) tells us that when Elizabeth’s barrenness ended it brought her great joy,
“After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, ‘This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.’”
So I think it is safe to say that John the Baptist was loved greatly and probably felt like he belonged. Going back to today’s passage, that last verse, “John grew up and became strong in spirit” I believe is indicative of the strength of his home life and his father’s influence of helping his son bring to fruition this prophesy. There are many studies that show what a stabilizing impact a father who is present in the home can have; and conversely the negative vacuum that is created when there is not one. If I may, I would like to speak to the Husbands and Fathers for a moment and share with you this powerful statement from Sandi Krakowski that we must do…
“Be a THERMOSTAT, not a thermometer, change the atmosphere around you with your attitude rather than just reflecting circumstances.”
Ask yourself, are you predominately a thermostat or a thermometer…the answer is critical. God has called men to be leaders in our homes, and leaders set the climate in their home. We all have our bad days but I underlined “predominately” in the hopes that you would do so soul searching over the course of time versus just having a bad day here or there.
Okay back to everyone…If you grew up having a father in your home, consider yourself blessed and take a moment today to reach out to him and say thank you for everything he’s done for you. For me that was not the case. In the ★ Thought for the Day – Never Fatherless ★ I shared how I grew up without a father in the house from the age of 5, and that my mother and I moved to another state at the age of 12 so I never had a father in my life to speak over me like Zechariah did. I can testify to the fact that not having a father around left a hole in my heart that rippled into all sorts of self-destructive behaviors from excessive partying, alcohol abuse and addiction to drugs. I carried that Father Wound for years until I accepted Jesus as my Savior and learned all about God the Father who was just waiting for me to turn away from my sinful life and trust Him for my needs. I now have something far greater than belonging to an earthly father, I belong to my Heavenly Father and He has healed me completely! He loves me and you so much that he gave up His one only Son to save us from the penalty of our sinful decisions. (See John 3:16-17 or ★ Day 02 – Reason for the Season – Why I Say Merry Christmas ★, where we looked at that verse.) 1 Peter 3:18 (HCSB) says that,
“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.”
Believing in Jesus suffering for our sins is the way to eternal life…to bring us to God the Father! C.S. Lewis once said,
I love that way he put it, “to enable” us to become sons and daughter of God. John 6:40 (NIV1984) furthers that point by showing the God the Father’s heart,
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise Him up at the last day.”
We have a future in making that decision to believe in Jesus and finally in John 10:10 (NASB), Jesus said,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
There is no better decision that you could make. If this Christmas season you find yourself alone and hopeless, feeling as if you do not belong, KNOW THIS…Jesus came to give us not only life, but Life in ABUNDANCE…trust Him today!
As an additional supplement to today’s “Reason for the Season”…I highly recommend you listen to “The Twelve Voices of Christmas” audio dramatization from Back to the Bible of “Zachariah – The Voice of Disclosure.” This dramatization is designed to help the listener experience the story of Christ’s coming in a fresh way from the Zachariah’s perspective.
If you would like to see the next installment of our “25 Days of Thankfulness” series go here…★ Day 10 – Reason for the Season – What is the Spirit of Christmas? ★
Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★
Elevation Worship did a beautiful version of the classic hymn of “Blessed Assurance” that I wanted to close with…
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood
Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love
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