I hope you had a great Easter. Mine was really filled with some outreaches that I am grateful to God were successful. While we were discussing the “Why series”, under the “Why he came”, one of the reasons we looked at for the coming of Jesus was the fact that Jesus came because he was sent.. This question of being sent is seen all over Scriptures. Several of the prophets were ordinary men who the word of God came to and they heeded the call. Today ,I would like us to consider a man who was described in the scriptures as “sent from God”.The name of this man is John who happens to be Jesus’s relative. His birth was foretold (Luke 1:8-17) and he was an answer to the prayer of an aged couple who the Bible described as righteous although they had found themselves in the predicament of childlessness because Elizabeth was barren(Luke 1:7). His father, Zachariah was a priest while his mother was a daughter from the lineage of priest (Luke 1:5-6). This Elizabeth was a cousin of Mary (Luke 1:36), the mother of Jesus and as such John was Jesus’s cousin. The name John means ”Jehovah has been gracious”.
Several years ago when I studied the life of the father of John, I was greatly encouraged that the Bible records some positive things about his life. The first of these is the fact that he and his wife were said to be righteous. Yes, they did have a problem which may have made the society look at them with disdain as barreness was seen as a curse those days( and a sign of disapproval from God. But in the midst of their own pain, I am deeply challenged by the fact that this couple continued in the right ways and Zachariah was introduced as still serving in the temple. He still went around ministering even though there was no hope that his needs would ever be ministered to, he is a typical case of though he slay me(Job 13:15) . He is also a reminder of Habakkuk’s cry that” though the fig tree does not blossom,…yet will I rejoice in God my rock” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
This John was sent and he had a sense of vison and purpose. This two things defined who he was and what he did.When the Pharisees sent people to ask him if he was the messiah, he clarified that he was not and then they asked him why he did the things he did. He also informed them in reply that he did those things because those were the instructions he received from whom had sent him ( John 1:19-28) .John teaches us in his conversation with the Pharisees that the man who has been sent is one whose life is shaped by purpose and sometimes when we do not know these, people will want to define us and give us their own ideas of what we would be doing. John was sent to reveal Jesus and in order to do this, he had to go baptizing (John 1:31).
The lives of Zachariah and Elizabeth was attractive enough for God to entrust them with someone he sent on a special mission. Their problems did not stop them from serving and their wait on the Lord was not in vain. John teaches us several things that we must learn and have if we are sent from God . He challenges us to go beyond our comfort zone but still allow our lives and works to be shaped by our purpose as received from him.
In His Service,Grace Tom-Lawyer