Monday, June 25, 2012

The Tablet and the Platter

"And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, 'His name is John'" (Luke 1:63).

"And his head was brought on a platter" (Matt. 14:11).

John the Baptist was six months older than the Christ whose way John prepared (Luke 1:36).  So on June 24, six months until Christmas, we celebrated the birthday of John the Forerunner.  The greeting could be "Merry Johnmas!"

The story of John's birth and circumcision on the eighth day is found in Luke 1:57-64.  And it seems that on very close inspection of the words, there emerges a prophecy of the way John would die.  Most of you know that John was beheaded and his head placed on a platter (Matt. 14:1-12).

The platter is a strangely significant detail in the death of John.  Likewise on the day he was circumcised, there is another curious detail.  His father Zacharias, who was unable to speak (Luke 1:20), requested a tablet on which to write, "His name is John."

Here is the connection.  Remarkably, and in a way only the Holy Spirit and Scripture could arrange, the word "tablet" and the word "platter" are in the original Greek the same basic word!*

The child's name written on a tablet was that of the man whose head was brought on a platter.

As you reflect on this connection, remember that the purpose of John the Baptist is to call you to repentance and point you to your Savior.

*For those who are interested:
     pinakidion (diminutive of pinax) = tablet
     pinax = platter