John the Baptist

by Rev. Vince Finnegan on December 16, 2012
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Luke 1:5 – Herod the great (37-4 BC) The priests were divided into twenty-four divisions of which Abijah’s was the eighth, according to 1Chronicles 24. Each division was on duty twice a year for a week each time. Elizabeth’s father was also a priest from the line of Aaron.

– In their culture, not having a child was considered a disgrace, especially not having a son who would be the family heir. People believed the blessing of childbearing was withheld because of the husband’s or wife’s sins.

– According to the Mishnah, a priest could not offer incense more than once in his entire lifetime, and some priests never did receive the privilege. Thus, this was the most important moment in the life of Zechariah.

Altar of incense Exodus 30:1-10; Psalm 141:1 and 2; Revelation 5:8; 8:3 and 4

- John means “the Lord is gracious.” The name is not in the Old Testament. Perhaps because of John Hyrcanus, the youngest son of Simon Maccabeus, it became popular.

Not drinking wine or liquor may indicate he was under the Nazirite vow (Numbers 6:1-ff) as was Samson. Holy spirit in his mother’s womb indicates he was under the influence of God his entire life. He maintained the personal commitment of holiness, and God guided him with the spirit. Jesus said of him, “I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John.”

– Quoted from Malachi 4:5 and 6; Matthew 11:7-15 Elijah was taken up to heaven on a chariot of fire with horses of fire and a whirlwind (2Kings 2:11). Many believed that he literally went into heaven and was with God until the appointed time prophesied by Malachi. However, Jesus is the first and only human yet to have eternal spiritual life and the only one to ascend into heaven.

– The KJ says “cousin;” other texts say “relative;” and one text – “mother’s sister’s child.” If they were cousins, Mary’s mother may have been from the tribe of Aaron as was Elizabeth. Her Father was from Judah, the line of David. Mary would then have come from the priest and king line just as her son Jesus would end up.

The baby in her womb had holy spirit.

John is born.

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