Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
Today, June 24, is when the Christian Church recognizes the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, which the Church dates as six months prior to the birth of Jesus based largely on the events recorded in Luke 1.
These Pastor’s Posts are devoted to the many Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today. I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day in the near future.
“Saint John the Baptizer, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, was born into a priestly family. His birth was miraculously announced to his father by an angel of the Lord (Luke 1:5-23), and on the occasion of his birth, his aged father proclaimed a hymn of praise (Luke 1:67-79). This hymn is entitled the Benedictus and serves as the traditional Gospel Canticle in the Church’s Service of Morning Prayer. Events of John’s life and his teaching are known from accounts in all four of the Gospels. In the wilderness of Judea, near the Jordan River, John began to preach a call to repentance and a baptismal washing, and he told the crowds, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). John denounced the immoral life of the Herodian rulers, with the result that Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, had him arrested and imprisoned in the huge fortress of Machaerus near the Dead Sea. There Herod had him beheaded (Mark 6:17-29). John is remembered and honored as the one who with his preaching pointed to “the Lamb of God” and “prepared the way” for the coming of the Messiah.” 1
The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia. He will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah to make ready for the Lord a people prepared. Alleluia.” It is from Matthew 1:17. The focus for your devotion this day is that Saint John the Baptist is not the Christ, only His Forerunner (Acts 13:25). He was called from the womb to bring Jacob back to God through his baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Isaiah 49:5), just as Christ was the true Servant of the Lord.
Old Testament: Isaiah 40:1-5
Second reading: Acts 13:13-26
Holy Gospel: Luke 1:57-80
The hymn appointed for this day is “When All the World Was Cursed” as found on page 346 in the Lutheran Service Book. You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np_Lb4MR10g
You may also enjoy the Benedictus from pages 238-240 of the Lutheran Service Book at: https://christlutheran-superior.org/liturgy-audio/morning-prayer/02–benedictus-lsb-238-240.html
Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Pastor Jim Tuell
1 Treasury of Daily Prayer, Scot A Kinnaman, General Editor, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO., 2008, p, 459-460.