Christmas Devotional | Day 2
December 2, 2017
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 | An Unexpected Visitor
The child promised to Zechariah would be named John, and he would turn many in Israel back to God.
Now while he [Zechariah] was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And 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 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.”
It was quiet in Israel. Not an all-is-well kind of quiet, the kind that normally accompanies a time of peace. This was an unsettling kind of quiet. God had stopped speaking to His people through the prophets for several hundred years.
How startling, then, in the midst of this silence, for Zechariah to hear from God. He was told that Elizabeth would bear a son named John in her old age, and this wouldn’t be just any son. This son would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even while in Elizabeth’s womb! The silence in Israel would soon be broken as all would hear John cry, “Repent!”
Jesus would later call John the greatest of Israel’s prophets (Matthew 11:11). Neither Elijah nor Moses had the honor of being the best man to Jesus, the coming Bridegroom of God’s people. And to think, this future prophet would be born to a woman who was too old to have children.
While serving in the temple, Zechariah had an unexpected visitor— an angel of the Lord! The angel told Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child and that this child would have an important part to play in God’s plan of salvation. The child’s name would be John, and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Like the Old Testament prophet Elijah, John would help Israel see that they needed to turn from their sin and trust in God.
What does it mean to repent? How is biblical repentance different than simply admitting you’ve done something wrong? How is biblical repentance different than trying to earn God’s forgiveness?
For Kids: Why do you think it can be so hard to admit that we’ve done something wrong? What does it mean to turn from your sin? (Parents, share about a time when you were convicted of your own sin and encourage your children to ask God for forgiveness when they sin.)
Ask God to help you confess and turn from your sin as you seek to follow Christ faithfully.
For Further Reading
Read about David’s confession and repentance in Psalm 51.
“. . . you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Practical Response – Pray for the Unreached
Take time this week to pray for those around the world who are unreached with the gospel. Unreached peoples and places are those among whom Christ is largely unknown and the church is relatively insufficient to make Christ known in its broader population without outside help. Pray for believers to be sent to proclaim the gospel where it is not now known. To find out more about unreached peoples and places, visit the following websites:
peoplegroups.org | joshuaproject.net | operationworld.org
Devotional credit: Radical.net
To Us a Son is Given: Christmas Devotional 2017
The end goal of this devotional is for you and your family to listen to Scripture and rejoice in the God who sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of sinners like us. What better way to spend the Christmas season?
If you would like to continue receiving this daily Christmas devotional eNewsletter, please visit bit.ly/tousasonisgiven.
You can also view the full devotional by downloading the MBC App (available on iTunes and Google Play). Simply choose your campus, click on the "Christmas" tab and select the "25-Day Christmas Devotional" to start this reading plan.