There were three guys named Jackson who were all
in the clothing business.
Due to lack of real estate options in their city, they
all set up shop next door to each other. In order to
convince customers to come to their store rather
than one of the other Jacksons, they all put up
signs to attract customers.
The one on the left puts up a sign that says
“Jackson’s clothing store (Best prices!)”
Not to be outdone, the one on the right puts up a
sign that says “Jackson’s clothing store (Best
The one in the middle thinks about it for a while,
and eventually puts up a sign of his own.
“Jackson’s clothing store (Main entrance).”
There are few things more exciting than the birth of a
child. Those of us with children definitely understand that
to be true. I’m sure we can all agree that there is no
birth more monumental than the birth of our savior Jesus
The gospel of Luke tells us the story of another birth that
is also special. The good doctor writes about the birth of
John the Baptist.
As I studied the text, the word ‘will’ stood out to me as
important. Today we are going to discuss several things
that help us understand the importance of the birth of
John the Baptist.
Follow along as I read Luke 1:5-19
First, an angel announces his birth.
Birth Foretold by an Angel
Look at v.11-13 “and an angel of the Lord appeared to
him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.
Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear
gripped him. But the angel said to him. ‘Do not be afraid,
Zacharias, for our petition has been heard, and your wife
Elizabeth will bear you a son…”
There it is…your wife will bear you a son.
Now, let’s back up a minute. In v.7 we read that
Elizabeth was barren. And they were both advanced in
years. So, she can’t have children and she’s too old to
have children. Automatically two strikes against this thing
Wrong. V.6 says they were both righteous in the sight of
God, walking blamelessly and keeping all the commands
of the Lord.
One role of angels is to deliver a message from the Lord.
This angel is Gabriel and his message was that God was
going to give them a son. And he was to be a special son.
What seems improbable is possible with God, because all
things are possible with God.
Next, the angel tells them what to name the child.
Name Given by God
The end of v.13 reads, “you will give him the name
Here’s the second one, you will give him…
The name John means ‘the Lord is merciful’ or the
gracious gift of God’
Think about what we know about John the Baptist.
His role was to announce the coming of the grace of God
through the person of Jesus Christ.
His name is perfect.
The Lord is merciful to send His only begotten Son into
the world to redeem mankind by His shed blood on the
God provided a name for John because He had a very
important purpose for him. His parents obeyed the angel
and called him John even though they had no one in the
family with that name. They trusted God with the name.
Third, He will bring joy and gladness
He will Bring Joy and Gladness
V.14 says, “you will have joy and gladness, and many
will rejoice at his birth.”
Put yourself in Elizabeth’s sandals for a moment.
You have been barren all your life and then an angel
comes to tell you you are going to have a son and that
his name should be John! And then it happens.
Having a baby brings joy in and of itself, but with all
those obstacles imagine the amount of joy she was
Also, God promised them a baby and He delivers!
When God makes a promise, He always keeps it!
Next, the child will be great
John will be Great
V.15 says he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
Jesus was speaking about John the Baptist and said this
in Luke 7:28 “I say to you, among those born of
women there is no one greater than John”
John was great because he fulfilled his responsibility to
announce the coming of the Lord. He prepared the way
for the Lord. Jesus called him more than a prophet.
He was great, but he understood his place as well.
When people asked him who he was, he readily admitted
that he was not the Christ, but that one was coming who
was greater than he and he was not even worthy to
stoop and tie the throng of His sandal.
He was great, but Christ is greater!!!
I love the way John describes it in his gospel.
John 1:20,23 “And he confessed and did not deny,
but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’ He said, ‘I am
a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make
straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet
John the Baptist understood that he was a vessel used by
God to announce the coming of the savior of the world.
Fifth, John will be filled with the Holy Spirit
He will be Filled with the Holy Spirit
V.15 and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be
filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.
Part of the Nazarite vow was to abstain from wine.
The other two regulations were to never cut the hair and
to not touch a dead body.
In the OT the Holy Spirit would descend on someone for
a specific time and then leave. John had the Spirit fill
him. It’s the same as believers today. The spirit dwells in
How do we know this really happened to John?
Besides the fact that the Bible tells us here,
fast forward to v.41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s
greeting the baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was
filled with the Holy Spirit.
This reminds me of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus.
He told them not to get drunk, because that was
dissipation, but to be filled with the Spirit. C.f. Ephesians
Next, He will Lead many back to the Lord
V.16 he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the
Lord their God.
Matthew described the ministry of John the Baptist in
Matthew 3:1-6 “Now in those days John the
Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
saying ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand.’ For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the
prophet when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in
the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord,
make His paths straight!’ Now John himself had a
garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around
his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea
and all the district around the Jordan; and they
were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as
they confessed their sins.”
John was preaching a baptism of repentance for the
forgiveness of sins. The OT is replete with prophets
trying to turn the hearts of those who have strayed from
God back to Him. John is the one pointing people to the
only One who can save them and forgive them of their
Finally, He will Announce the Coming of Christ
V.17 he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the
spirit and power of Elijah.
We all know how Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal on
Mt. Carmel. Luke isn’t saying John is Elijah incarnate,
but that he showed the power of God by telling them
He was preparing the people for the coming of the Lord.
Malachi 3:1 says this, “Behold, I am going to send My
messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the
Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple;
and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight,
behold, He is coming.’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Zacharias also prophecies about John’s role of
announcing the coming of the Christ in Luke 1:76
How are we to apply the Scriptures to our life as we
consider Christmas this year?
This Christmas I’m asking you to prepare your heart to
hear from the Lord.
Prepare Your Heart to Hear from the Lord
John prepared the way for the Lord,
What do you need to do personally to prepare to hear
Have you let the busyness of life get in the way of you
connecting with Christ this Christmas?
Take some time and spend it alone with God and thank
Him for sending His Son to forgive you of your sin.
I’m also asking you to help others prepare properly for
the incredible message of Christmas.
Share the Christmas Story with others.
Are you willing to take the message out for others to
It’s a great time to share the good news, people are
receptive around this time of year because they know it’s
about the birth of a savior, not just a tree and presents.
Will you share His story this Christmas?