Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. Memorize the memory verse.
1. In the Hebrew Bible are indications that there would be a “forerunner” to the Messiah, an Elijah like prophet. This was the ministry of John and known as the “Baptist.”
2. John was born into a priestly family, that of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and Elizabeth was related to Mary, who would be Jesus’ mother. The name John means “Jehovah has been gracious.”
3. The neighbors of Zechariah and Elizabeth were astonished about the name as it was not a usual name, and a certain kind of ‘fear’ fell upon them, and this news was widely spread in that region.
4. Zechariah then, filled with the Holy Spirit, uttered a single, but long sentence, and become known as the Benedictus. It is a proclaiming or prophesy having to do with what would be John’s ministry.
5. The prophesy covers the entire and complete work of the Christ whom John would announce. Zechariah said “he has visited and redeemed his people” and provided a means of “salvation for us.”
6. Zechariah says of his soon to be baby son John that he “will be called the prophet of the Most High,” which captures the work of John, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”
7. And all of this Zechariah says is to “give knowledge of salvation” and the “forgiveness of theirs sins” and all due to the “tender mercy of our God.”
8. Our passage concludes with the fact that the child “grew and became strong in spirit” while living in the wilderness, being readied for his public appearance.