The Dayspring Is Come
Is anything more wonderful than the birth of a child? What a stir the birth of John must have caused. Zacharias, the old priest and Elisabeth his elderly wife had produced a son! All the people were amazed that such a thing had happened and began to wonder what manner of child this would be.
Zacharias did not have to wonder, for God had revealed to him the nature and purpose of his son’s life. John would b e the first true prophet born in more than 400 years. He would prepare the way for God’s Messiah. From the very beginning of time God had promised the Messiah would come to restore order to creation and everlasting life to mankind. No matter how terrible their persecution, the people of Israel had found courage in this promise. In the past, God had been actively involved in the world’s affairs. He had sent His Word and His messengers to the world, but now He was becoming personally involved – He was visiting the world Himself! This intervention was expensive to God. He had to pay the price of redemption (the debt of sin’s penalty).
See the magnificence of God’s vision and patience! The birth of Messiah was planned from the very beginning and no matter what obstacle(s) the world interposed to prevent Him, the prophecy was at last to be fulfilled. The life of John is illustrative of the way God prepares servants and equips them for their tasks. He sets events in motion and manipulates situations by His great knowledge and power. John was born to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus. How great was the world’s need.
I. Spiritual Darkness Covered the Earth
A. The twilight of Judaism
1. The Jews never recognized the greatness to which they were called
a. The chosen people of God – called to love, obey, and serve Him
b. They were to be missionaries to all nations
2. They had developed a religion without heart
a. Citing laws and regulations they made approaching God more difficult
b. They turned the mission plan of God into a club with which they beat gentiles into positions of servitude
B. Philosophy offered no hope
1. The world assumed God was silent
a. The lost wondered, “Who is God? Where can He be found? How can men know Him?”
2. The lost tried vain religion
a. With idolatry and polytheism they found no solution to their needs.
II. Christ, the Light of the World
A. John prepared the world for the first coming of Christ. Our task is to show Him to the world
1. He has gifted us with His Spirit
2. We are the manifestation of Christ
3. Our lives are not our own
B. The world is little changed
1. Men still need God
2. Will we show Him to them?
C. We can use this special holiday to shift the focus from self-gratification to selfless love
1. By not acting as everyone else does
2. Putting real meaning into our celebration
3. Looking past the tinsel, wrapping paper, and presents to see a lonely hill and a cruel cross!
See the empty tomb where once lay the broken body of God’s only Son