57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.
58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father,
60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.”
61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.”
62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered.
64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea
, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
The time had now come for Elizabeth to give birth to the child God had promised them. Her neighbors gather around her and are there to share in her joy and support her due to the previous trial of not being able to have a baby. They are there to congratulate her and also witness just how powerful God’s hand has been throughout this entire process.
The crowd is able to recognize that this miraculous birth belongs to God and God’s doing alone. However, what they are not privy to is that God has also already decided a name for this child and the amazing plan He has for him. It was customary for a male child to be named at birth and also to acquire the same name as either the father or grandfather. In this case, God has already revealed what that name will be and out of obedience and faith, Elizabeth and Zechariah go against the cultural norms and follow after God’s choosing.
The name itself is not as important as to what it represents. By choosing the name, God is establishing the plan and purpose that He has for John in the future. It is abundantly clear that even though the neighbors are confused about their choosing in the name, that God’s hand is working in and through the life of John even from birth.
God’s plan for our lives were set in motion even before John was born. Here we see the beginning of a life that is about to be used by God in such a powerful way to bring about the message of the Gospel. Let us be encouraged by the fact that God still works in the same way to use as His tools and vessels. God worked in amazing way to use John and He intends to use us to be a means to also spread the good news of Jesus Christ to those around us.
[Featured image from www.bibleimages.ca]