Daily Devotional Friday 25th December 2020by William Moody
The Birth of John the Baptist
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
The time comes for elderly Elizabeth to give birth to her son (v57). This was a time of great rejoicing for Elizabeth (v58) and the focus then turns to the name of the boy (v59). As often was the case, many expected the boy to be called after his father Zechariah, but Elizabeth instead says he shall be called ‘John’ (v60). The name John means ‘the Lord saves’ and in using this name it is a reminder that what is happening here is at the heart of God’s wonderful plan of salvation. John would be the one who would prepare the way for the coming of the Saviour.
Zechariah responds to criticism about this name (v61-62) by writing on a tablet, ‘his name is John’ (v63). As Zechariah writes this, and therefore embraces through faith God’s saving plans, his tongue is loosened and he is enabled to speak once more (v64). Zechariah’s time of silence and trial has brought a spiritual maturing and a deepening of faith.
What has happened causes a fear and a sense of wonder throughout this region (v65-66). When God moves in His saving purposes the world takes note. We need to pray for God to move powerfully today in saving souls.
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.