Friday 23 December 2016

Bible Book:

“He began to speak, praising God” (v. 64)

Luke 1:57-66 Friday 23 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 110


Throughout the whole of this chapter we have seen how God makespromises, and people - Zechariah, Elizabeth and Mary - arechallenged to trust in God, which they do. It's possible to trace apattern in the chapter of promise, then fulfillment, then response.In today's passage we read both of the fulfillment of the promiseand the beginning of the response.

Elizabeth safely gives birth to her son, and there is great joyin the community. It's worth remembering that we shouldn't takeElizabeth's safe delivery for granted. Many mothers did not survivechildbirth, and Elizabeth's age increased the risks substantially.Once again God's faithfulness and protection are evident.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were both obedient to the requirementsof their faith and so the child is brought to be circumcised on theeighth day (verse 59). This public event serves to demonstrate thatthey are also obedient to God, even when family and friends aroundthem have different ideas. Sons were not necessarily named aftertheir fathers or grandfathers in Judaism at this time, but givenZechariah's continued enforced silence and the particular blessingthat this child represented, neighbours no doubt thought it fittingthat he carry his father's name.

Elizabeth is adamant, and when Zechariah is consulted he too isclear. The child is to be called John, which means 'God isgracious'. This obedience has the effect of fulfilling the promiseand command given to Zechariah by Gabriel (Luke1:8-20) and so he regains his speech. His first words, inresponse, are praise to God.

To Ponder

  • At the centre of this story is the obedient naming of the childas John - God is gracious. Reflect on how you can be alert to God'sgrace today.
  • Luke's Gospel is clear in this story that God is at work andthe people in the community around recognise that something amazingis happening. How amazed are you by the way God works? And are yourneighbours too?
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