A background story to the birth of Jesus Christ is the story of the birth of John the Baptist. When John was born, his father, Zechariah, was told that John’s life was to be an important part of God’s introduction of Jesus into the world. To Zechariah, Gabriel said:
Luke 1:15-17 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. (16) And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. (17) And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
None of these things were recorded with the subject of abortion in mind, however, what the Lord directed Dr. Luke to write certainly has prolife implications.
The Potential of a Life.
Gabriel gave a short history of what John’s life would be about. Even before he was born—probably even conceived—God had a purpose for his life. The potential of John’s life was “great in the sight of the Lord” (1:15). He would “turn to the Lord” “many of the children of Israel” (1:16). John would be the one God would use to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (1:17).
The influence of John’s life is immeasurable. We see similar statements said of other prophets of God. To Jeremiah, God said:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jeremiah 1:5
The potential of any life is immeasurable. We do not know what has been lost to our world because of the millions of lives that never had an opportunity to live. Believing in God’s sovereignty, we believe God’s purposes have never been thwarted by abortion; however, Romans 1 reminds us that God will give a culture over to its own destructive desires, as part of that culture’s judgment (see Romans 1:24, 26, 28). Abortion is one of those destructive desires that results in the loss of the great potential human life to our world.
The Personhood of the Preborn
Gabriel referred to John as a person even in the womb when he said that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, “even from his mother’s womb” (1:15). Scripture never says animals or things are filled with the Holy Spirit. It never says an arm or leg is filled with the Spirit of God. The Bible only speaks of persons being filled with the Holy Spirit.
In Luke 1:44, Luke records Elizabeth’s words that the “baby leaped in my womb”. The English word, baby, is from the Greek word brephos (Gk βρέφος). The word refers to a preborn or born child. There’s no difference. It was a not some “tissue” that leaped. It was a baby.
Elizabeth also said the baby “leaped for joy” (1:44). Considering what the Angel Gabriel told Zechariah, we could assume this was a Holy Spirit-prompted leap for joy. We don’t know that for sure, however, Elizabeth, speaking with a Spirit-filled interpretation (1:41) said the was “for joy” the baby leaped. The preborn baby experienced joy!
All of these things point to an understanding that the baby was a person in the womb.
Scripture is clear that the baby in the womb is a person. Today we have science which has only made it even more clear to believe that a person occupies the womb. We are able to see through the technology of ultrasound a baby sucking its thumb at eight weeks. At eleven weeks the baby is kicking, stretching, and hiccupping. Sadly, most abortions take place later than that.
Life is a gift. Human life is a gift of a person created in God’s image. It is a life that will live forever.
Submitted by Dan Stertz
Pastor, Bible Baptist Church