Wednesday March 27, 2019
Today’s Focus Bearing witness
Today’s Scripture Reading Luke 1:57-80
When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby(John the Baptist) to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58 And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.
59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”
61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.
65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.\
67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69 He has sent us a mighty Savior
from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised
through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies
and from all who hate us.
72 He has been merciful to our ancestors
by remembering his sacred covenant—
73 the covenant he swore with an oath
to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live.
76 “And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,[i]
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”
80 John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.
Daily Reflection Pastor’s Reflection
Recently I was honored to be able to officiate at a “celebration of life” worship for a women who I never had an opportunity to meet in this life. I always feel privileged that at a time of great mourning and sadness a family willfully invites their pastor into such an intimate time. What always astounds me about these occasions is that in spending time with the deceased family members I have the ability to “meet” the family through the witness that the family provides of this person’s life.
In the case of this recent “celebration of life” I heard about a life in which this sister in Christ along with her husband made it their purpose to provide a home in which their children felt accepted and loved just for being the people they were. They found it important to both offer forgiveness and share forgiveness. She and her husband made it a priority to establish a sense of true community within their house.
Without ever having met this sister in Christ in hearing these stories I absolutely knew that in this house a message of hope, peace, contentment, and love was shared…. Just the way our God desires these precious commodities to be shared.
In hearing the story of the birth of John the Baptist and the words of his father, Zechariah bears witness not only to the purpose of his own child, but also sheds light and provides witness to the intentions of our God.
Some questions for reflection
- What do you consider the major highlights of message Zechariah is sharing with the world in the first words that he speaks in several months.
- Looking back on what you and I know about the life of Jesus, do Zechariah’s words “ring true” for your understanding? Why or why not.
- How important do you think it is to “bear witness” to God in the world in which we live, and what are the ways we accomplish this?
Today’s discipleship challenge
Today, I would like you to think about someone who you hope and pray would have a closer relationship with God. Call, text, or meet this person and allow them an opportunity to “meet our God” through your eyes and heart. Share with your group or a trusted friend how this made you feel and how things worked out.
By Your Word, eternal God, Your creation sprang forth, and we were given the breath of life. By Your Word, eternal God, death is overcome, Christ is raised from the tomb, and we are given new life in the power of Your Spirit. May we boldly proclaim this good news in our words and our deeds, rejoicing always in Your powerful presence; through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. Amen.