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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible


John the Baptist

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Lesson 1: John the Baptist – Set Apart By God From Birth


Luke 1:5-25.

Set Apart By God From Birth

John the Baptist – as we call him – was a very special person. As we read Luke’s Gospel we find his account opens with an introduction to John. John was the forerunner for the Messiah.

We find that John’s birth was a miracle. Zechariah and Elizabeth – like Abraham and Sarah – were old. The normal expectation was that they were past childbearing age. However, Gabriel came and told Zechariah that they would have a child – a miracle baby. No wonder he was speechless!

I love the way Gabriel announced the news. He began by giving the boy the name of John. His was a definite arrival. John was coming. Furthermore, he would be a delight not only to his parents but also to many others. He was to have an amazing influence beyond normal expectations. He would be great in the sight of God and filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.

What an amazing privilege was John’s. His birth was a gift from God to the world and one that would have an incredible influence on society. Yes, Zechariah and Elizabeth were to be blessed by having their barrenness broken and the joy of holding their very own son, but more than that – the people who were alive at the time would be thrilled because of who John was and what he did. Even God would look down upon John with joy and approval.

Wouldn’t it have been an awesome privilege to be John? To know that God made you special before you were born? To give you to two people who were dedicated to God and longed for a child? To find that you had been given a role straight from the Throne-room of God? To realise that you were filled with the Holy Spirit in order to complete your task with authority and power?

Yes, John was very special and privileged. One of a kind. Yet, God also used him to give us a picture of God’s heart.

God thinks you are very special. Your birth was a God-given miracle too. God knew all about you before you were born, and He looks down upon you today with a smile and joy in His heart that He made you.

No matter the circumstances of your birth – you are a gift from God to this world. No matter what you have done or where you are now – God still loves you and watches over you. He has an awesome plan for your life and He longs for you to receive His Holy Spirit so you too can fulfil your God-given destiny.

You are not on this earth just to live an earthly life – you are here to represent God and fulfil the plan He has for you. An awesome plan, which will influence many others.

God is reaching out to you right now and saying: I love you. I made you. Let’s walk together and make a difference in this world, so that people looking at you will see Me and long to know Me too.

John the Baptist would say to us today...

Recognise what God has planned for your life and then follow that plan to the end. You are here for a higher reason than you can dream or imagine.


Father, please help me remember that I was not born for my own selfish pursuit of happiness but to fulfil the destiny that You ordained for me. Please help me stay focused so that I complete all You planned and purposed for me. Amen.

Additional readings

Psalm 139; Jeremiah 1:5-19; Judges 13:2-25.


Is it true that God knows all about you?

What has God set you apart to do?

How do you feel knowing God has a special plan for your life?

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