Go John the Baptist on Advent
13 But the angel said to him: “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah: your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14 “This will bring you joy and celebration, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15 “He will be a great man in God’s sight; he will drink no wine or strong drink. He will be filled with the holy spirit from his mother’s womb,
16 “and will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
17 “He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, and he will turn the hearts of fathers to children, and of unbelievers to the wisdom of the righteous. He will get ready for the Lord a prepared people.”
John the Baptist was an Advent baby. No, he wasn’t necessarily born during Advent, but his birth kicked off the first and forever most real advent.
John the Baptist was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth. While Zechariah was a Levite, Elizabeth was a Levite descendant of Aaron. If the temple or the tabernacle functioned then as it did in the days of Moses, this baby would be in line to become the High Priest in Israel. That means that he would be the main guy to carry an offering into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement and sprinkle blood on the Ark of the Covenant.
After sprinkling the blood and doing the offerings, he would come out of the presence of God and announce that everyone’s sins had been paid for. Other Levites would sound the trumpet and signal through all of Israel that for the first time in a year, everyone could go to sleep with a clean conscience. Their sins had been paid for.
That rejoicing, that peace, that reunion with God is what John the Baptist would do with his entire life.
“The spirit of Elijah” refers to the period of revival that the prophet Elijah brought about a revival in Israel in the 800s B.C. Other prophets foretold that Elijah would come back (or someone very much like him) just before the Messiah would return. Next to getting excited about the Messiah being born, the coming of the next Elijah would hype you up pretty good. If you were waiting 800 years plus for a Messiah and the frontman of His entourage showed up, you’d know the time for the Messiah was upon you.
So for the next 4 weeks, let’s be the Holy announcer that John was. We are great men and women in God’s sight (He paid a high price for us, didn’t He?). We can bring joy and celebration to a lot of people in a lot of different ways. We are filled with the Holy Spirit when we believe Christ died for us, so all that is left is for us to turn people back towards the Lord.