Daily Devotional Sunday 20th December 2020

by William Moody

Luke 1:5–17

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,1 of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Now while he 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. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 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. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 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. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 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.”


[1] 1:5 Greek Zacharias


As God begins fulfilling His plan of salvation He uses two righteous believers Zechariah and Elizabeth (v5-6). They were an elderly couple who were unable to have children (v7).

Zechariah was a priest and he was given the great privilege of serving in the temple when an angel appeared to him (v8-11). As would be expected this was a terrifying event initially (v12) but then he is told wonderful news (v13).

His son John would be great in God’s sight and even filled with the Holy Spirit from his time in his mother’s womb (v14-15). John would be used to turn the people of Israel back to God and to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah (v16-17).

We all need the influence of people like John in our lives, people who are used to turn us back to God and to encourage faith and obedience. We also then need to be like John in the lives of others, a positive influence in encouraging obedience and faith in Christ in others. This comes when like John we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Pray about this.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.