Lk 1:57–66, 80
When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.
When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!” and they asked the father, by means of signs, for the name he wanted to give him. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John,” and they were very surprised. Immediately Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God.
A holy fear came on all in the neighborhood, and throughout the hill country of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?” For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.
As the child grew up, he was seen to be strong in the Spirit; and he lived in the desert until the day when he appeared openly in Israel.
John wore clothes made out of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. His diet was locusts and wild honey. He was focused merely on the affairs and coming of God’s Kingdom. Although he baptized, John’s life was more than just baptizing. His adult life was characterized by selfless devotion to God’s kingdom. He was the first prophet called by God since Malachi some 400 years before his own birth and his coming was previously foretold over 700 years by Isaiah.
Lots of people thought that he was the Messiah. John told his disciples that what they had seen and heard from him is just the beginning of the miracle that is to come in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. John was merely a messenger sent by God to proclaim the Way.
John the Baptist could have claimed himself as the messiah, which was very tempting. But he was humbly honest. He believed that the Messiah was coming and prepared his followers for his arrival. As Christians, our faith can be tested. So we will either falter, or like John, cling to Christ and stand firm in our faith to the end.
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