How Old Was Sarah When She Gave Birth 2 Isaac John the Baptist – The Last "Old Testament" Prophet

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John the Baptist – The Last "Old Testament" Prophet

The words of this hymn invoke the biblical images of John the Baptist as a “voice calling in the wilderness” called to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Mk 1:3). Quoting from Isaiah 40:3, referring to the exiled Israelites’ journey home from Babylon, the Gospel writer portrays John as the one who is called to announce a new “exodus” with the coming of the kingdom of heaven. Further, based on Malachi 3:1, the opening lines of Mark’s Gospel introduce John as the Lord’s messenger.

Because John warned people of the coming judgment of God (Lk 3:7-9) and announced the coming of the promised Messiah (Lk 3:15-17), he is also referred to as the last “Old Testament prophet”. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John, we first meet John in the desert, where he preaches a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. However, we only learn about the circumstances of his birth in Luke’s Gospel.

John’s birth is foretold through an angelic revelation (1:8-17) to the old priest Zechariah, whose wife Elizabeth was barren and past the limit of fertility (1:7). At the time, infertility was considered a source of shame; Thus, Elizabeth’s pregnancy shows God’s favor toward her and the way God took away her reproach (1:25). And John’s birth is a sign of God’s mercy and power for those who trust in the Lord’s promises (Luke 1:58, 80).

The birth of John recalls the Old Testament stories of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7), Isaac and Rebecca (Genesis 25:21), and Elkanah and Hannah (1 Samuel 1:1-2, 9-18). . As Sarah was of childbearing age, so was Elizabeth; and like Isaac [and Rebekah] and Hannah [and Elkanah]Zacharias and Elizabeth prayed for a child (Luke 1:13).

Luke’s account of the annunciation and birth of John testifies to the unexpected and surprising ways in which God’s plan of redemption unfolds. The angel prophesied that Zacharias and Elizabeth’s child would “go forth” and “prepare men for the Lord” (Luke 1:17, CEV) and that their child would be a great minister filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The angel Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah ends with Zechariah becoming speechless because he did not believe the angel’s words. However, eight days after John’s birth, Zechariah’s silence is miraculously broken when he obediently writes down the child’s name and, filled with the Holy Spirit, praises God and utters a prophecy about his newborn son (Luke 1:76-79).

While John may be the “last Old Testament prophet,” he is also the forerunner of what would be new—announcing that “the kingdom of heaven is coming soon” (Matthew 3:2, CEV) and that it is mightier than he. he will come baptizing with “the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).

The birth of John the Baptist reminds us that “nothing is impossible for God” (Luke 1:37). The old couple’s despair has given way to hope, and those who wait on the Lord can exclaim with joy, like Elizabeth, “what the Lord has done” (Luke 1:24, CEV).

On the banks of the Jordan the cry of the Baptists

It announces that the Lord is near.

(Charles Coffin, 1676 – 1749)

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