The Nativity of St. John the Forerunner, Prophet and Baptizer of our Lord
The history of St. John’s Nativity has began from a miracle. Two aged childless persons conceived and gave birth to a child, and this nativity was a part of the most important God’s plan – the plan of salvation of mankind.
The Gospel gives a detailed description of St. John’s Nativity. The parents of Forerunner were outstanding people. Zechariah served as a priest in the Temple of Jerusalem, and Elizabeth descended from a glorious family of Aaron.
But these were not the only reasons why God choose that particular family for His plan. Their personal righteousness was an important thing in God’s eyes: “They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years…” (Luke, 1:6-7).
It should be noticed, according to Jewish notions the barrenness was considered a punishment of God for heinous sins, and a childless people were offended and humiliated. Such relation to childless was understandable in Israel: is it possible for Messiah to descend from a family of sinners? Especially since His birth was eagerly awaited in every Jewish family.
Nevertheless, a mark of sinners was upon the real righteous people, and following birth of their son, whom God elected to be Forerunner of Savior, confirmed it through the several signs.
Once during the licensing in the Temple, Gabriel the Archangel appeared to Zachariah and announced about forthcoming birth of the son who have to be named John. Zechariah was scared and did not believe, so for that the angel shut his mouth until prophecy will be fulfilled.
Soon Elizabeth become pregnant and gave birth to son.
The Holy Gospel narrates: “On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God” (Luke, 1:59-64).
“The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel” (Luke, 1:80).