When the baby was eight days old, they came to circumcise him. They wanted to name him Zechariah because this was his father's name. But his mother said, "No! He will be named John." The people said to Elizabeth, "But no one in your family has this name (John)!" Then they made signs to his father, "What would you like to name him?" Zechariah asked for something to write on. Then Zechariah wrote, "His name is John." All the people were surprised. Then Zechariah could talk again. He began to praise God.
— Luke 1:59-64
What is the big deal about the name of this miracle baby given to Elizabeth? Obedience, pure and simple. There was no reason to name him John—no relatives or heroes in the family of that name. But the angel had said, "You will name him John ...." So, they did! God's approval was shown in the removal of Zechariah's inability to speak. This conception, this birth, this child is no accident of late-life passion. This is the work of God! Obedience, pure and simple, opens up a pathway for the work of God, and no one's life illustrates that more than John ben Zechariah, the one we know as John the Baptist!
Holy and righteous God, full of compassion and mercy, please forgive me for sometimes treating my responsibility to obey your will as optional. Give me a holy passion to honor you in word and in deed. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
When it was time for Elizabeth to give birth, she had a boy. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord (God) was very good to her. They were happy for her. When the baby was eight days old, they came to circumcise him. They wanted to name him Zechariah because this was his father's name. But his mother said, "No! He will be named John." The people said to Elizabeth, "But no one in your family has this name (John)!" Then they made signs to his father, "What would you like to name him?" Zechariah asked for something to write on. Then Zechariah wrote, "His name is John." All the people were surprised. Then Zechariah could talk again. He began to praise God. And all their neighbors became afraid. In all the hill country of Judea people continued talking about all these things. All the people that heard about these things wondered about them. They thought, "What will this child (John) be?" They said this because the Lord (God) was with this child.
Related Scripture Readings
Samuel said, "In the past, you thought you were not important. But then you became the leader of the family groups of Israel. The Lord chose you to be king over Israel. The Lord sent you on a special mission. The Lord said, 'Go and destroy all of the Amalekites. They are evil people. Destroy them all! Fight them until they are completely finished!' But you didn't listen to the Lord! Why? You wanted to keep those things, so you did what the Lord said is bad!" Saul said, "But I did obey the Lord! I went where the Lord sent me. I destroyed all the Amalekites! I brought back only one person—their king Agag. And the soldiers took the best sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal!" But Samuel answered, "Which pleases the Lord more: burnt offerings and sacrifices or obeying the Lord's command? It is better to obey God than to offer sacrifices to him. It is better to listen to God than to offer the fat from rams. Refusing to obey is as bad as the sin of sorcery. Being stubborn and doing what you want is like the sin of worshiping idols. You refused to obey the Lord's command. For this reason, the Lord now refuses to accept you as king."
1 Samuel 15:17-23
So put out of your life every evil thing and every kind of wrong thing you do. Be humble and accept God's teaching that is planted in your hearts. This teaching can save you. Do what God's teaching says; don't just listen and do nothing. Why? Because when you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. If you hear God's teaching and do nothing, you are like this: You are like a man that looks at his face in the mirror. The man sees himself, but he does nothing. He goes away and quickly forgets how bad he looked. But you must not be like that. You must carefully study God's perfect law that makes people free. You must continue to study it. You must listen to God's teaching and not forget what you heard. Then you must obey what God's teaching says. When you do this, it will make you truely happy.
God was pleased for all of himself to live in Christ. And through Christ, God was happy to bring all things back to himself again—things on earth and things in heaven. God made peace by using Christ's blood (death) on the cross. At one time you were separated from God. You were God's enemies in your minds, because the evil things you did were against God. But now Christ has made you God's friends again. Christ did this by his death while he was in his body. Christ did this so that he could bring you before God. He brings you before God as people who are holy, with no wrong in you, and with nothing that God can judge you guilty of. Christ will do this if you continue to believe in the Good News you heard. You must continue strong and sure in your faith. You must not be moved away from the hope that Good News gave you. That same Good News has been told to all people in the world. I, Paul, help in telling that Good News.