Luke 1:16–17 (ESV)
16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before
him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
reading, an angel of the Lord spoke to Zechariah and told him that he was going to have a son and that his name will be John. The angel told him that John would be great before the Lord. John is not to drink wine or strong drink. Please note
that this command is given by the angel of the Lord to John, not everyone else. Some people want to take this on themselves and that is fine with me, but the command was to John. The people of the Old and New Testament drank wine, Jesus first miracle
was turning water to wine (John 2:1-11), Paul says a little wine is good for the stomach (1 Tim 5:23), Jesus says he drinks alcohol (Luke 7:33-34), and wine was used in the Last Supper by Jesus. I will say this, drinking alcohol is not a sin, but getting drunk is a sin. I know and understand that there are very hard feelings over this issue, especially down here in the South, but what I said is straight from the Bible. I’m not here to fight this battle, but
to get back to today’s reading.
The angel of the Lord in today’s reading speaks of John’s mission and ministry. The angel says “he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” John is going
to be one of the greatest of the prophets, he will be the forerunner of the Messiah, announcing the way of the Christ. He is coming to turn people from their sins and to repent– this is his purpose, but in today’s reading he has not been
formed in the womb, but we know today that this all happened shortly afterwards. What I think is real significant is that John will “will go before him (Jesus) in the spirit and power of Elijah.” Later on, the Jews will ask
if John is Elijah and even later, Jesus will confirm it (Matt. 17:12).
Luke begin his gospel by introducing John, because John has a huge role in part of God’s plan of Salvation. I think of John
as a hero... God had a plan for him and John carried it out. Today’s reading the angel is telling you about John’s future, as we journey through Luke, we will see how John’s ministry and Jesus’s ministry work together as one ministry.
I pray: Lord, help us to live according to your will, to walk according to your ways, to share the gospel according to your command, and to cling to our saving faith that you have given us. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.