The Birth of John the Baptist

57When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.

59When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”

61“What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

65Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66Everyone 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.

What a dramatic moment! First Elizabeth, despite her age, carries the baby and gives birth to a boy. Then it comes time of the circumcision ceremony and everyone assumes the baby will be named after the father, but the mother, who had very little say in things is insisting on this other name – “John”. Finally when they go to the father who has been unable to speak since something occurred during a special ceremony at the temple. Hhe chooses the same name, and the moment he does, he can speak again and starts praising God.

Did God make Zachariah doubt the angel Gabriel so he could make him unable to speak so this moment would be more remembered and talked about? I don’t think so. Doubt is sin and God didn’t make Zechariah sin. He doesn’t make me or anyone else sin. I am sure God knew Zechariah would doubt, but he didn’t force him to. But Zechariah’s inability to speak sets this moment up and makes it much more dramatic. It changes it from something mentioned once in a while by the neighbors to something that is front page news at the Gossip Gazette.

And what does this all mean to me? I know I’m going to sin and I’m going to be ashamed and I’m going to suffer consequences to my sins. But look how God can use even my sins for his purpose. I am never too lost for him to find. I’ve never sinned too badly for God to use me. I’m never not loved, welcome, and called. I can get my voice back!

Lord, give me to courage to see my sins, and still turn to you. Then give me the courage to sing your praises to my friends and neighbors for all you have done for this lowly sinner. I love you Jesus.

We love you too!