The Birth of John the Baptist
It was four hundred years since Malachi without a prophetic word,
Yet the faithful remnant in Israel remembered what they had heard.
They looked with longing for the day their Savior would arrive
Praying they would see the Lord before it was time to die.
Among the priests was Zacharias who humbly served the Lord
Who with his wife, Elizabeth, walked in faith and one accord.
Their service to God was honorable, but there was a missing part.
For years they yearned to have a child and hold him near their heart.
One day at the holy hour to the right of the incense altar
An angel appeared, so glorious, Zacharias nearly faltered.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, the Lord has heard your prayer.
Elizabeth will soon conceive, an amazing son she will bear.”
He shall serve with the spirit of Elijah, turn weary hearts to God.
Many will heed his message; pass under the Master’s rod.*
Just as the shepherd guides the sheep with an ever gentle touch,
John will proclaim the Messiah, the One who will give so much.
Zacharias was astounded. Words of assurance had been so few.
He wondered aloud just how he could know the angel’s words were true.
Gabriel replied, “I wish you had believed me and trusted in God’s grace,
From this moment on, you will be mute until these things take place.”
There was more that happened in this interim period of time.
They received a visit from Mary, with an encounter quite sublime.
The child within Elizabeth leaped in her womb for joy,
For he knew the other child in the room was Mary’s Savior boy.
All of us know the rest of the story, the man that John became.
From out of the desert he came forth with a long and flowing mane.
He called for the people to forsake their sin while living on this sod;
Telling them not to admire him but to behold the Lamb of God.
© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved
* In NT times the shepherds returned the flocks to the safety of a walled enclosure counting each member as they passed under his rod into the safe shelter. Thus came the term, “passing under the rod.”