Luke 1:57-66 (NLT)
When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.
When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”
“What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.
Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.
It might not be the first thing you focus on when reading this story, but for me, it jumps right off the page: “they used gestures to ask the baby’s father…” You can picture it, can’t you? The crowd looks over to Zechariah and all the people wave and gesticulate in order to get his attention and get an answer. They probably exaggerated their motions, flailing their arms in the air. I can just see Zechariah rolling his eyes with frustration. After all, he was MUTE, not DEAF! He could hear everything happening in the room.
In fact, he’d probably heard quite a bit over the last 9-months.
He’d heard the rumors from neighbors. He’d heard accusations and innuendo. Most importantly, he’d heard from God. With his mouth shut and his ears open, he’d had plenty of time to think about those words: “Don’t be afraid… You will have joy… Many will rejoice… Don’t be afraid… God has answered your prayer… Elizabeth will give you a son… Don’t be afraid… Name him John… He will have the power of Elijah… Turning hearts to God… Don’t be afraid… He will be great in the eyes of the Lord…”
And didn’t Elizabeth, who was once barren become pregnant? Prayers answered.
And didn’t they have a son? Prophesy fulfilled.
And wasn’t he just perfect? Joy and gladness like never before.
And doesn’t Elizabeth want to name him John? Of course she does…
And all the words of the angelic messenger, which played over and over again in Zechariah’s mind for the entire pregnancy, came together. They made perfect sense. All the waiting paid off. All the prayers answered. All the fear gone. His voice returned and he praised. His words came back and he rejoiced. After nine, long months, his vocal cords vibrated with celebration of God’s faithfulness.
In a moment, Zechariah went from muted to magnifying, from hushed to hailing, from silent to singing!
How could he do any different? When the truth of God’s revelation finally penetrates your hard heart, there is nothing left to do but celebrate.
Dear God of Life,
Open our ears that we might hear.
Open our eyes that we might see.
Open our hearts that we might receive.
Open our mouths that we might praise!