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Why was John the Baptist born so miraculously?

“He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:14-17

            Luke described in chapter 1 the miraculous birth of John to Zechariah and Elizabeth who had been unable to conceive so far and were well passed their childbearing years.  The angel Gabriel showed up to tell Zechariah what was about to happen, then muted Zechariah when he didn’t believe Gabriel’s announcement. 

Why all this fuss?  John the Baptist was the prophesied “Elijah” spoken about in Malachi.  The one who would draw people to God before the Messiah would arrive.  His role was pivotal in preparing the hearts of people in Israel.  John was the only prophet to show up since Malachi, after a 400 year gap of silence by God.  Jesus called John the greatest in all the kingdom.  He was more important than he’s sometimes given him credit for.