The Lesson of John the Baptist’s Conception Story

The Lesson of John the Baptist’s Conception Story by Myra Kahn Adams for Town Hall

Thanks for joining the first Bible study of “sparkle season,” where in the commerical world — Christmas commonly known as “holiday” — means gifts, lights, parties, trees, etc. But today, and for the next three weeks, we will celebrate what is officially known as “Advent season” until the advent (arrival) of a Jewish infant named Yeshua — born of a teenaged mother named Myriam. (The name of His real Father is a bit complicated for this brief introduction, but Yeshua’s earthly father’s name was Yosef.) Then, and officially, the “Christmas season” begins at Yeshua’s birth.

For our first Advent season study, we will examine the miraculous conception and birth of John the Baptist. This story — recorded in only one of the four gospels — appears at the beginning of Luke. John’s birth is soon overshadowed by Jesus’s at the beginning of Luke chapter two. However, their Divine conceptions are intertwined and comprise the entire narrative of Luke chapter one. Then, in Luke chapter three, Jesus and John appear together as grown men for the Great Purpose of John to baptized Jesus  —marking the beginning of Jesus’s earthly ministry. (See Vol. 84.)

I love John’s conception story and, when it is contrasted with Jesus’s, we learn a powerful lesson: When the Lord sends a heavenly messenger to deliver life-altering news, there is a wrong and right way to respond.

But before we begin, note that some Bible scholars believe that Mary (a senior citizen at the time of Luke’s writing) told these conception and birth stories directly to Luke. This is a plausible concept and perhaps why intimate details concerning Mary and Elizabeth appear only in Luke’s gospel.

You might consider going back to read Vol. 39, also based on Luke chapter one titled: “Mary and Elizabeth, Both Miraculously Pregnant, Have a ‘Visitation.’ ”

What follows is a brief paraphrase of John the Baptist’s conception:

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