Friday, December 18
Think back to last Saturday, when we read Luke 3:15-18.
There in the desert, John makes it clear that he is not the Messiah.
But that isn’t the first time he acknowledges the distinction between himself and Jesus.
Here in his mother Elizabeth’s belly, John leaps for joy at the presence of Jesus. It’s irrelevant that John was conceived first or that he’ll enter the world first. He knows, even in the womb, that Jesus is greater.
One day, when he’s grown up, he’ll say, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me” (John 1:15). The chronology is complicated, but the point is this: though John is conceived first in a temporal sense—he is a few months older than his cousin Jesus—Jesus is actually eternal. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, the Word who was in the beginning, the Word who was with God, the Word who was God (John 1:1).
Somehow, though not yet born, John senses this. He senses that he’s in the presence of someone far greater than he. And he flings out his little limbs in joy. His movement is so dramatic that his mother experiences it as if he’s leaping. This isn’t a flutter or even a kick.
John jumps for joy as he meets his king.
Prayer: Jesus, you are far greater than I am. You are eternal, the king of the universe. Even as a fetus, you were nothing less than God himself. In your presence today, I will jump for joy.