Saturday 24 June 2017

Bible Book:

“He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God.” (vv. 63-64)

Luke 1:57-66, 80 Saturday 24 June 2017

Psalm: Psalm 80:1-7


Elizabeth was a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke1:36). She was married to Zechariah, a priest serving thetemple in Jerusalem, and she was a descendant of Aaron, sometimescalled the first priest, brother to Moses. Service to God was inthis couple's bloodline. The son Elizabeth gave birth to was noneother than John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus.Elizabeth became a mother late in life and it proved to herneighbours and relatives that "nothing will be impossible with God"(Luke 1:37). In those days, being lifted fromthe 'shame' of barrenness was interpreted as a sign of God's mercy.Her husband, on first being informed by an angel about all this (Luke1:19-20), showed such disbelief thathe was struck dumb aspunishment. And when it was time for the baby's circumcision andnaming, as Hebrew tradition required, he still was.

More than 30 people in the Bible are called Zechariah, meaning'God remembers'. It wouldn't have been the worst idea to name himafter his father. Elizabeth is clear that the name is John, meaning'God shows favour'. But how did she know? The text doesn't tell us.Her conviction was downplayed and her husband's authority sought,so reflecting the times. Once the name is written down, thefulfilment of God's promises is clear (Luke1:20): Elizabeth became pregnant and bore a son; the son wasnamed John. Zechariah can now speak again.

Promise and fulfilment is a powerful dynamic in Luke's Gospel,but often received with amazement (verse 63) or fear (verse 65).Elizabeth and Mary exhibited both of these emotions when theirunexpected pregnancies were announced, but primarily responded withfaith. Luke's Gospel shows particular respect for women of faith.We also note that poignant question in verse 66: "What then willthis child become?" He became a prophet of good news for sure, andsomeone who suffered for it (Matthew 14:1-12).

To Ponder

  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Who are the voiceless in today's world: longing to speak and beheard, but silenced?

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