The Birth of John the Baptist

The story of the birth of John
the Baptist begins with the visit of Marry to Elizabeth while they are both
pregnant. Elizabeth immediately recognizes that Mary will be the mother of the Savior,
of the Messiah. Mary then praises the Lord for this wonderful
blessing that she will have. This prayer is called the Magnificat. It is interesting that
the blessing or praise that Mary recites is very similar to the praise that Hannah recites
after her son Samuel is born. If you will remember, Hannah was barren and unable to
have children, and when she came to the Tabernacle, she was promised that she would be able to
have a child. Once her son Samuel was born, she came again to the Tabernacle and praised
God. The prayer that she offers is very similar to that of Mary’s. Notice that she begins
with almost the exact same phrasing as does Mary. “And Hannah prayed and said, My heart
rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine
enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.” Mary proclaims, “My soul doth magnify the Lord,
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Mary stays with Elizabeth for about three
months. However, for some reason she leaves before the birth of John the Baptist. John
is then born, circumcised, and on the eighth day is named. The family all gathers around
and rejoices, which interestingly enough is unlike the story of Mary who will have no
family or friends around her. In fact, the only people that will gather around her are
complete strangers. As the family declares that the name should be Zacharias, the name
of his father, Zacharias immediately asks for writing tablet. A tablet that may have
been similar to a wax tablet that you would impress or engrave with a stylist. The first
thing that comes out of his mouth is a pronouncing of a blessing. A blessing not only on his
own child but a blessing on all of Israel. It is interesting that the blessing that he
never was able to pronounce as he left the temple on that day when he saw the angel Gabriel,
now he has a chance to provide that blessing. A blessing that truly will bless all people
because through his son, John the Baptist, the era of the Messiah will be ushered in.
And as Jesus proclaimed, John truly was the greatest prophet ever to live.

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