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He will go before (the Lord) in the spirit and power
of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the
children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the
just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared
(Luke 1:17).     Read Luke 1:14-17.
The angel tells Zechariah his son "will be great before
the Lord." That's high praise for any of our children-
that God looks upon them as great. But John's
greatness is not because he is the son of Zechariah
and Elizabeth, but because he will be filled with the
Holy Spirit even before his birth. The Spirit will equip
him to accomplish his great God-given mission.
Zechariah is instructed to keep his son from drinking
wine or strong drink. John will live like a Nazarite of
Old Testament days. Nazarites were Israelites who
were set apart from the Israelites with their lives
dedicated to serving God and His people. They
demonstrated that separation by letting their hair
grow long and refraining from eating grapes or
drinking wine and other alcoholic drinks.
As the angel tells Zechariah, "He will turn many of
the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he
will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah ...
to make ready for the Lord a people prepared"
(see Luke 1:16-17).
John will expose our selfishness and show us why
we need a Savior, so we will trust in the promised
Son of God. It is He alone who will work out our
salvation in His perfect life and innocent suffering
and death. Clearly, it was worth waiting all those
years to have such a son as John.
Lord God, thank You for sending Your Son into
our world, and preparing people like Zechariah and
Elizabeth to be parents of His forerunner John.
Give me courage to walk with You in faith as You
order my steps. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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