Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 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 1:57-64)
Have you ever noticed that Zechariah doesn't get his voice back when the baby is born? I thought that was odd. What was God making him wait for?
So I went and checked the promise again. It says, "Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth ... you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place" (Luke 1:13b-14, 20b).
So, a son was born, yes, and the parents were glad, yes. But "these things" were not completely fulfilled until the community rejoiced, and the baby was officially named John (meaning "the Lord is gracious").
God sent John into the world to make Elizabeth and Zechariah happy, but not just them. John would prepare the way for Jesus, our Savior, and that made John a wonderful, long-awaited gift to the many, many people who were waiting for God to save them. Where John was, Jesus would not be far behind. No wonder Zechariah (and many others) raised their voices to celebrate!
THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for sending John and then Jesus, our wonderful Savior. Amen.
* When you were a child, what did you wait for with great longing?
* How do you bear it when you must wait for something you desperately want?
* Do you think Zechariah regretted his silent time or not? Why?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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