And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For 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. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. – Luke 1:14-17
Zacharias and Elisabeth are about to have a prayer answered that will bring them personal joy beyond compare! Moreover, they and all of the people of God will rejoice at the news that Elisabeth is going to have a son. The cause of rejoicing is not just the miraculous birth of their son, nor in the coming ministry of John the Baptist, it is the fact that John’s ministry will announce the coming of the Redeemer!
John’s parents are told to bring him up in the way of the Nazarites. Numbers 6 records the details of how this vow works. Most notably, the vow is typically made voluntarily as an adult and is temporary. John, like Samson, will be a Nazarite his whole life.
John’s message will also be a life changing one. When we look closely at the prophecy found in Malachi chapter four, we learn that John’s message is not going to fit in with the popular doctrines of the day. To put it in simple terms, John is going to turn folks back to “old time religion.” He will go back to the Scriptures, not men’s teachings, and identify Jesus as the Lamb of God!
Perhaps this is exactly what we need today. Do we need new doctrines or practices to bring in the people of the world? Or, do we need to get back to the good old fashioned doctrines of grace that give God all the glory and cause the people of God to rejoice?
I don’t know about you, but I kinda like the idea of rejoicing!