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Luke 1:67,76-79 The Birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:67,76-79 The Birth of John the Baptist

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

76   And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;

for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,

77   to give his people the knowledge of salvation

through the forgiveness of their sins,

78   because of the tender mercy of our God,

by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven

79   to shine on those living in darkness

and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

———————–

A father buys himself a new boat when the family car is falling apart. A mother spends her food budget on candy, chips, and soda. A student takes out a loan so he can spend spring vacation in the Bahamas, while his tuition goes unpaid.

What do these people have in common? Misplaced priorities, right? All three have let serious needs go begging while they have satisfied their superficial desires. And all three, very likely, will live to regret it. Sooner or later they’ll wish they had focused on what was really important.

Something similar can happen in a person’s spiritual life. Scripture is very clear about what we human beings really need -about what should be for us priority number one. We are sinners. We stand condemned before a just and holy God, doomed to suffer eternally for the evil we have thought, spoken, and done. What we need -above, beyond, and before anything else- is forgiveness.

The good news is that we have forgiveness through our Savior Jesus Christ. Before Jesus’ great forerunner, John the Baptist, was born, John’s father Zechariah said that John’s purpose would be “to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77). Your sins are forgiven -that is the gospel in a nutshell. That is what you and I and every person who ever lived needs most of all to hear.

Isn’t it a shame when people fail to realize this? And wouldn’t it be a shame if the church decided to proclaim something else, on the grounds that the forgiveness of sins isn’t what people seem to want? Rather than looking for a church that caters to our wants, we should look for a church that follows Scripture, confident that Scripture sets the agenda for what God wants his people to have. If we do that, we can be sure we will receive from God what is most important.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we see that in the long run, many things are not important. Rather than focusing on this life, help us focus on what we need for eternity. Give us your forgiveness, and help us treat it as our greatest treasure. Amen.