And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, "No; he shall be called John." And they said to her, "None of your relatives is called by this name." And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. (Luke 1:59-64)
Have you ever had a surgery you thought you might not wake up from? If you're like me, you try to make your last words to family and friends count. For me, it's usually "I love you." I don't get to choose my first words on waking up, because the anesthetic makes me loopy, but if I could, they'd probably be the same.
Zechariah must have had a lot of things he wanted to say, after nine months of muteness! His last words hadn't been particularly well-chosen: "How can I know this is true?" They were words of doubt, words that refused to trust in the good message of God. Maybe that's why Zechariah made sure he got it right when the muteness was finally lifted: "He spoke, blessing God."
Baby John was a promise fulfilled, but he was also the promise of a greater blessing on the way—Jesus, God's Word in human flesh. And His message, from first to last, has always been "I love you," from His birth to His death to His resurrection from the dead. Jesus did all these things for us, to make us God's own forever.
THE PRAYER: Lord, use my words to help others to know Your love and mercy. Amen.
* What were your first words as a child?
* Have you ever heard someone's last words?
* What specific words of Jesus mean the most to you?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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