Prepare the Way
“When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.” –Luke 1:57
Six months have passed since Zechariah encountered the angel standing at the right side of the altar of incense in the temple. His now pregnant wife, Elizabeth, has probably had numerous one-sided conversations since Zechariah can’t speak. But one conversation that neither Elizabeth or Zechariah will ever forget occurred when Elizabeth’s relative, Mary, came to visit.
We don’t know exactly why Mary decided to make the trip to a town in the hill country of Judea to see Elizabeth. But we do know it followed an extraordinary visit from the angel Gabriel in Nazareth; a visit that resulted in Mary being pregnant with Jesus. And we know “when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).
The next words out of Elizabeth’s mouth are what is called in charismatic circles a “word of knowledge.” If you’ve ever been on the “Alpha Day Away” you’ll recognize the term. It’s one of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible. In this case, it was a supernatural gift given to Elizabeth to bring truth through a revelation or insight. She exclaims, “Blessed are you (Mary) among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”
A short three months later, Elizabeth gave birth to the son who would prepare the way for Mary’s baby. “Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.” And then, in another miracle, Zechariah’s speech returns as he writes the name of his new baby boy, John. “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God.”
What follows is another infilling of the Holy Spirt, and Zechariah prophesies what is to come. About his own newborn son he says, “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on to prepare the way for Him…”
Those of us who have children can easily recall the kind of celebration that must surely have taken place in that little town in the hill country of Judea. And who knows but that our children will one day grow up to prepare the way of the Lord for others, too. It starts by preparing our own hearts each day to walk the walk and talk the talk. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for God’s spiritual gifts to help you along the way!