57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her. 59 And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60 But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. 64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. 65 Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
Zacharias did not have the ability to speak, yet he still called his family toward obedience. Zacharias had lost his voice for his lack of faith, but he had not lost his ability to communicate with others about the need to live by faith.
In the Old Testament, the child’s name was usually given at birth, and it was customary to name a boy baby after his father.
But both Zacharias and Elizabeth demonstrated that their house would be one of faith—since Zacharias was still unable to speak, Elizabeth spoke up—their son was to be named John.
Surprised that she would request a name with no family ties, the friends and family turned to Zacharias. With a writing tablet—a small wooden board covered in wax with a stylus—Zacharias produced the same name as Elizabeth.
John, the name given by the angel of the Lord (v. 13), means “the Lord is gracious.”
Even John’s name points to the One who gets the credit in this miraculous conception.
In God’s grace, He invited Zacharias and Elizabeth to participate in His divine plans of making His Son’s name known. In Zacharias’s prophecy in verses 67-79, he recognized salvation was at hand: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people” (v. 68).
Even before Jesus’ birth, Zacharias considered God’s will accomplished: salvation was coming and sure.
- What does Zacharias’s obedience even in the midst of discipline reveal about his character?
- When have you disappointed others or defied expectations in an effort to obey God? Praise God for the specific ways He has kept His promises to you.