Let us not commence our reading of the New Testament without earnest prayer that it may prove a blessing to us by the teaching of the Holy Spirit. These things are written that we may believe in the Lord Jesus, and we shall read to no purpose unless we do in very deed believe in him to the salvation of our souls. It will be well to remember that four hundred years had passed since the days of Malachi, and that Judea formed a part of the great Roman Empire, with Herod the Great as its tributary king. Now was the time appointed for the coming of John, the forerunner of the promised Messiah.
This was done twice every day, at the time of the morning and evening sacrifices, and was an emblem of the merits of Jesus, and of the prayers of saints, which ascend like sweet perfume to the throne of God.
His faith was staggered by the apparent impossibility of the case, as ours too often is when outward providences appear to contradict the promise.
Luke 1:19, 20
Unbelief is very displeasing to God, and cannot be indulged in, even by the best of men, without involving them in chastisement. If we will not believe a promise, we shall not be permitted the comfort of it, and its fulfilment will be attended with some humiliating circumstance which will mark the Lord’s displeasure at our unbelief.
He did not make his infirmity an excuse for leaving his office, as many would have done. We must work on for the Lord as long as we have any ability left.
The mother of John had more faith than her husband, but both were excellent persons. We may reasonably expect the best preachers to be born of pious parents. Would to God that in our household might be raised up those who will cry, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”