Luke 1:57-66 John Is Born
Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 17, 2013
Luke 1:57-66 NLTse When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. (58) And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her. (59) When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. (60) But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!” (61) “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” (62) So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. (63) He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” (64) Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God. (65) Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. (66) Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.
To understand this account, we have to go back and review to see how the author led into this section of the story.
Zechariah was performing his duties in the sanctuary maintaining the altar of incense. When he was performing his duties, an angel of the Lord, Gabriel appeared. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (Luke 1:13-17 NLTse).
Zechariah found it difficult to believe. Instead of believing, he said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Why did Zechariah, with such a high degree of respect and close relationship with God, question the angel? Luke tells us, Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. The angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” (Luke 1:19-20 NLTse). Zechariah remained silent since that day until after the birth of his son, John.
When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. It was time for the birth of her son, but not time for Zechariah to talk. For some reason God withheld his speech for a time. And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to Elizabeth, everyone rejoiced with her. Zechariah sat by watching in silence. The expression on his faced showed the anguish he endured at a moment he should have been rejoicing. Zechariah felt sorry and asked God to forgive his doubt. But it was more than doubt God was trying to remove from Zechariah. God knew he needed more time to think, reflect on his life, and rely on the Spirit to show him his faults and change his life. The role God gave to Zechariah was too important for him to recognize only half his character faults.
When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. Zechariah was made to endure eight extra days of anguish sitting with a house full of guests, Elizabeth and the new born baby. He felt such pride and joy holding his new son. There was so much he wanted to show and teach his new son. But how was he going to teach him without a voice? What would his son think of him when he grew old enough to find out it was God’s curse that took away his voice? Zechariah’s emotions were like a leaf drifting in the wind. Some times taken to the heights of heaven, only to be dashed upon the ground and lost in a collection of other leaves waiting to rot in their final resting place.
When it came time to name the baby the family wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. It was custom to name the first son after the father to carry on the father’s legacy. They felt this was particularly important for Zechariah because of his old age. But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!” “What?” they exclaimed. At first they thought Elizabeth was taking advantage of Zechariah’s inability to speak. They thought Elizabeth was looking out for her selfish goals. The family wanted to approach the situation in the kindest way they could find, so they answered; “There is no one in all your family by that name.” Their motive was to protect the interests and well being of Zechariah. It had been a long time since he said a word. They treated him like any other mute person. Thinking he was unable to hear they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him.
Zechariah could see what they were trying to do, protect him and traditions they lived under and respected. Then Zechariah remembered Gabriel’s words. “Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.” (Luke 1:13 NLTse). Thinking back over the scene Zechariah could see why he doubted Gabriel and the message from God he delivered. It brought Zechariah to the point of tears. He saw it was his selfish pride that drove a wedge between him and God. Zechariah rejoiced because he finally found the answer after all the months that seemed more like years. He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.”
God knew Zechariah learned the lesson. Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God. His family immediately noticed the joy returned to Zechariah’s face. The proud father could now join in the joy. Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.
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