Monday 24 June 2013

Bible Book:

Luke 1:57-66, 80 Monday 24 June 2013


The first two chapters of Luke's Gospel interweave the narrativeof the prophecies and birth of both John and his cousin Jesus. Theybegin to pose a question: what then will these two childrenbecome?

Today's passage centres on the baby John's naming celebration;it builds upon the story of his conception. His parents, Zechariahand Elizabeth, were devout members of the Jewish faith; his fatherwas a priest. John's birth was celebrated as a sign of God'sblessing as previously the couple had no children.

Zechariah had to write his confirmation of John's name becausehe had been unable to speak since he questioned the angel'sprophecy of the birth (verse 63). God is introducing the good newsof God's own purposes for all people by influencing the lives ofthis family and their community.

The naming of children is a time of happiness and pride.Individual names bestow a sense of value; they provide a source ofidentity and can indicate a heritage to which the person belongs.Names can also reveal a family's expectations of what a child willgo on to be.

John's naming was a reason for rejoicing, but it also confoundedthe expectations of those present who assumed he wouldautomatically take his father's name, causing uncertainty andanxiety. It led them to question who it was the boy would become.He was soon the subject of speculation and comment and thosepresent resolved to see if their expectations were confirmed bylater events; Luke notes that "the hand of the Lord was with him"(v. 66).

John's name means 'God is gracious' or 'God has shown hisfavour'. We, perhaps, see his future message for all people torepent and believe in the forgiveness of sin (Luke 3:3-14)foreshadowed in the experience of Zechariah. It is the realisationof the truth of the angel's prophecy that released Zechariah tospeak again and he immediately proceeds to praise God (Luke1:68-79). He now understood what Elizabeth had instinctivelyaccepted. The truth of God's word has set him free.

To Ponder

  • When others hear your name, what are the individual God-givenattributes and gifts that they identify with you? And those thingsthat make you the person that you are?
  • If you don't know the answer to the question above, thenconsider asking this question of someone who knows you well.
  • How can the individual talents with which you are blessed bebest put to use on behalf of your church or by serving in yourcommunity?
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