This is an introduction to a series of stories--not theological studies--on and around the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The stories are told in simple language that anyone, even young children can understand and enjoy. The Study covers the period of time from the announcement to Zacharias and Elizabeth (Zechariah and Elisabeth) of the birth of their son John, to the Baptism of Christ, beginning His earthly ministry. * * * * * * * * * *
The Jews had anticipated the coming of the Messiah for generations. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, to name a few of the prophets of the Old Testament, had prophesied a Redeemer of God's people. But still, four hundred years later, no Messiah had come. Israel was still a troubled nation. When would their Deliverer appear? The nation was now under the rule of Rome, and they longed for a leader who would immediately stamp on their enemies… But they were not prepared to have Him come as a humble Baby, born in a lowly stable, to a peasant woman. They would have been, had they read Isaiah's prophecy: Isaiah 7:14 – "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
The devout in Israel had watched so long for the promised Messiah that they knew every sign given them by the prophets of old. And now to those truly looking for Him, it was evident that the time was imminent. Their Messiah must come soon. A few even believed that they would not die until their eyes had seen His coming…. The air was filled with expectation. Some anticipated the sound of trumpets, announcing the arrival of Israel's King. Oh what a glorious day that would be! … But the majority of the people of the day were not expecting the event to happen as it did. And even those few who had recalled the event of the Baby whom the Shepherds had told them of, had now lost interest. Nothing else spectacular had happened in decades.
And what of the forerunner? If a King was coming, why hadn't He sent a forerunner? … Oh, but He had!
Malachi 3:1 – "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to this temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."
In days of old it was an honor and a sought-after privilege to be a "king's forerunner." A young man of perfect physique and physical fitness would be picked. When the king entered his carriage, the forerunner would sprint in front of the chariot, waving a banner and calling people to make way for the king. Isaiah had foretold of such a 'forerunner', one who would appear to proclaim and prepare for the coming of Israel's Messiah. Isaiah 40:3 – " The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
Please enjoy each story, as you read it. You may return to this index page, or go to the next story. You'll find at the bottom of each page a link that will carry you to the next chapter.
The stories in this series are copyrighted by © Helen Dowd