Zechariah’s encounter with the angel and Elizabeth’s pregnancy were great joys and blessings. But their blessing had a purpose. John was their pride and joy, their hearts’ great desire and delight. But their blessing was part of a greater plan and bigger story. Their miracle child became a blessing to the whole world.
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John(K) in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:4-11, NIV)
When John baptized Jesus in the muddy Jordan River, God spoke from heaven and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. John was a part of political and religious history as a dissident, protestor, and preacher who called a nation to repentance. John suffered a heartbreaking, awful death as a martyr for his faith.
Why do people experience unfair suffering or receive underserved blessings? We may never know. But in good times and bad times, we have the assurance the God has a plan beyond what we can see. Accepting our blessings and our trials with equal measures of gratitude frees us from worrying about the question, “Why has this happened to me?” Remaining faithful as we wait for God’s promises will eventually bring tidings of great joy for us, for those we love, and all those we touch.
Will you follow Elizabeth’s example and take the journey from unfairness to gratitude?
Christ’s death was not fair – how does this give you perspective regarding your current sufferings?
What was your undeserved blessing this year?
How can you live boldly like John the Baptist?