Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Birth of John the Baptist - The reward of rest

Hebrews 4: 1-13

v. 1, “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.”

The author of Hebrews warned the next generation of believers to not reject the gift of God’s rest. There was a generation of Israelites who failed to enter into the Promised Land because of unbelief. Their lack of faith kept them from entering what is referred to as God’s rest.The Lord issued the invitation for them to enter and they did not listen. They forfeited their opportunity to enter. John the Baptist’s ministry was to prepare the way for Christ which allows the believers to ultimately be rewarded with the rest God promises His people. 

John was the son of Zecheriah and Elizabeth. They waited years for a baby because Elizabeth was barren, which was considered a curse at that time. Despite their old age, they continued to pray for a child. 

According to Jewish custom, Zecheriah was chosen by lot to enter the temple for worship. As he was burning the incense, worshippers were outside praying. Suddenly an angel appeared before him which caused him to be startled and fearful. In verse 13, the angel said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.” Despite being a priest and praying for a child, he did not trust the Lord. 

Often, we are just like Zechariah. We pray for something without fully trusting God. Instead we should be like Hannah who prayed for a son and was blessed with Samuel. Unfortunately, due to Zechariah’s disbelief, he lost the ability to speak. 
After his birth when the relatives and neighbors wanted to name the child as Zechariah after his father, Elizabetdeclared that the child would be named John. When Zechariah was asked about it he wrote on a tablet the words, "His name is John". And immediately his speech was restored. This shows that when we trust God, God forgives our doubts and rewards us with his grace. 

Children are a gift of God. Our job is to be stewards to help them grow as God’s children. Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethos Episcopa once said, “Children are God’s children, we are not to say that they are our kids. We are just caretakers.” We live in a broken world with people needing encouragement from those who are patient and willing to be supportive. People are looking for peace, comfort and ultimately rest. John the Baptist’s message was to believe in Jesus Christ, so that God’s rest will be upon all those who trust in Him. Let us all raise our children to be like John who witnessed the love of Christ and the rest that comes eventually to us followers. 


Lord, help us to trust you and pray for those seeking peace and rest in your love. 


“And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” - Luke 3:6

Achamma Jacob, Long Island MTC

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church

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