The Greatness of John the Baptist – By Father Andrew Bahhi
We cannot see Him with our physical eyes. But God is with us. We can see him, feel him and ask him to bless us.
Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth loved God. He was a priest and from a priestly tribe, and she was also righteous. They were righteous people, which means without blame. And they performed all of God’s commandments. The believed in God’s presence in their life.
But they could not have children. And while this can often make one mad, not Zachariah and Elizabeth. Why? Let me tell you something – the blessing is not when you receive something. The true blessing is when you give God something.
Maybe on your way to being a righteous person, you have some of your prayers not answered, like they did about having a child. But Zachariah and Elizbeth did not give up their relationship with God. They believed in God and held their strong faith.
The Bible says it is blessed to give more than to receive. Zachariah continued to be a good believer and righteous believer with his wife. God was always with them, but he could not see Him. They stopped praying for this request to have a child, and yet they continued to have faith in God.
But God in his perfect time, sent His angel Gabriel. At that time, Zachariah was able to see the glory of God. Because he did not stop having faith in God.
A lot of times in our lives, we pray for things. But when it does not come on our time, we stop our faith in God. But God loves the sinner more than the righteous. His unconditional love is with each one of us, all the time.
Jesus died for us, not because we are good people. He died for us because we sin.
Now the angel brought good news, the answer to Zachariah’s prayers. Gabriel told him that not only is he going to receive something, but it will be something very special – his son will be more than a great person. The angel said, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord.”
He was preparing an extraordinary son for them, his name John the Baptist.
Greatness, according to our criteria is somebody with great earthly achievements. A house, money, car, education. There is nothing wrong with these things, but it is wrong when it becomes the ultimate goal of our life.
The greatness in the sight of the Lord is when you become a righteous person.
Why did John the Baptist become great? Four ways:
- Because he should not drink wine or strong drink, or one who cared about earthly desires. Instead, he dedicated himself to God and demonstrated that he can control his earthly desires.
- John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit even when he is in his mother’s womb. This is how one has a faith and strong relationship with God.
- He turned many of the children of Israel towards God’s will.
- And, as it says in Luke 1:17, “he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. …ready the people for the Lord.
So, you need to ask yourself: If God now will appear, will He say, “Your faith is great, and you are a great person,” or will He say “I am sorry. I don’t know you.”
Zachariah was always living to please God.
Do we have this desire to be great in the sight of the Lord?
Jesus said to the disciples “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Matthew 20:26.
Learn more from Father Andrew’s sermon video here.
January 28, 2024
January 21, 2024