As part of their journey through the Advent season many Christians are reading what the Bible says about the background and birth of Jesus Christ. A part of that background is the story of the birth and work of John the Baptist. John prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus by preaching messages about people needing to ask God to forgive them for breaking God’s laws and then he baptized them in water to signify a new dedication to following God’s laws.
In Luke 1:8-20, there is the description of how the Angel Gabriel appeared to John’s father, Zachariah, as he was performing his priestly duty in the Temple in Jerusalem. Gabriel told him that his prayers had heard by God and that his wife would bear him a son who would speak God’s messages in the spirit and power of Elijah so that many people would come out of spiritual darkness, ask God to forgive them for breaking His laws, and return to living by God’s principles.
After the birth of John, Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied that John would “give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:77-79 NASB)
After John grew up he began fulfilling that prophecy by “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3) In addition to preaching messages about people asking God to forgive them for breaking God’s laws, John was also preaching about someone who was greater than him and who would baptize people with the Holy Spirit and fire as described in Luke 3:16.
One day John saw Jesus coming to him to be baptized in water and John proclaimed: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Some of John’s followers understood the implications of that proclamation to be that Jesus would become the perfect Passover sacrifice and thus would take away the punishment of spiritual death that they deserved for breaking God’s laws. As a result of that understanding those followers of John became followers of Jesus.
Just as John fulfilled the prophecies about him as he brought God’s light to those people who were living in spiritual darkness by preaching messages about how people needed to ask God to forgive them for breaking God’s laws; so also modern day Christians can follow John’s example and fulfill that prophecy by bringing God’s light to those people who are living in spiritual darkness by telling them about how Jesus came to earth on the original Christmas Day, grew up, and after a short earthly ministry He completed God’s plan for the spiritual redemption of mankind through His sacrificial death on the cross and then being raised by God from the dead.
When people listen to those messages and let God’s spiritual light come into them by accepting God’s invitation to ask God to forgive them for breaking His laws and then ask Jesus Christ to become their personal Savior and spiritually apply His sacrificial atonement on the cross to their lives; then God forgives them for breaking His laws, removes the sentence of spiritual death that they deserved for breaking God’s laws, transfers them out of the Devil’s spiritual kingdom of darkness and transfers them into God’s spiritual kingdom of light, makes them God’s newly restored creations, and makes their spiritual nature come alive as God sends them the Holy Spirit to live inside of them to give them the insight and ability to live according to God’s principles of living found in the Bible.
As Christians daily read God’s Word to learn His principles and talk to God in prayer about their problems, they can develop a close relationship with God that will give new meaning to their life and help them overcome the many problems that they will face during the rest of their journey of life.
The more that Christians spread the light of the Christmas message about Jesus coming to earth to complete God’s redemptive plan, the more they will become a brightly shining light in the midst of our modern society that has so much spiritual, intellectual, and moral darkness in it!