When Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest by the name of Zechariah from the priestly group of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth was from the family of Aaron. Both of them were good people and pleased the Lord God by obeying all that he had commanded. But they did not have children. Elizabeth could not have any, and both Zechariah and Elizabeth were already old.
One day Zechariah's group of priests were on duty, and he was serving God as a priest. According to the custom of the priests, he had been chosen to go into the Lord's temple that day and to burn incense, while the people stood outside praying.
All at once an angel from the Lord appeared to Zechariah at the right side of the altar. Zechariah was confused and afraid when he saw the angel. But the angel told him:
Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayers. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you must name him John. His birth will make you very happy, and many people will be glad. Your son will be a great servant of the Lord. He must never drink wine or beer, and the power of the Holy Spirit will be with him from the time he is born.
John will lead many people in Israel to turn back to the Lord their God.
The First Coming of the Lord Jesus was preceded by many people turning back to God because of the preaching of John the Baptist. John prepared the way for the Lord as he called men and women to repent. The hearts of many in Israel were ready to hear the message Jesus preached because of the work of John.
John and Jesus were cousins. In fact, while their mother's were pregnant Mary stayed with Elizabeth and her husband for three months. It is inconceivable that John and Jesus did not know about each other as they grew up, or even played together at some point. The Bible does not say but John must have found it to be amazing that the Son of Mary was the Messiah! We know that even just before he died, John wondered if that were really true.
I have a life-long friend who has been closer than a brother for most of my life. I have never known a time when his heart was turned away from Jesus. I really should not be specific about what I'm about to say, but I am amazed at how God is using him to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus by helping to turn the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people to the Lord. I think I know a little about how Jesus and John both must have felt when they realized that the little boys they knew were now a great man of God and the Messiah Himself!
Never forget that someone who you think is an "ordinary" man or woman may be specially called by God to accomplish great things for Him! And every child you meet in this life is called by God to fulfill a special purpose, for which he or she was created!
"Lord Jesus help me to recognize that You indeed have a special purpose for everyone You create. And help me to find that purpose for my life, this day! May You be praised forever. Amen."