Scripture: Luke 1:57–66
Key verse: (63) He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed.
Reflection: Where did your name come from? I was named after my father’s brother. Many of our names come from our family or friends or famous people. It is an honor to carry someone else’s name and it is an honor to name someone.
When Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, was ready to give birth, all her neighbors and relatives celebrated the new baby. As was the practice, mom (Elizabeth) and dad (Zechariah) brought the newborn child to be circumcised and named. The community was sure the baby would be called Zechariah (Jr.) since that was the traditional pattern. But Elizabeth said the child would be called John. Apparently, the mother’s wishes were dismissed since the community went immediately to Zechariah to see what he wanted to name the child. Since Zechariah had been struck mute by the angel who first told him that he and his wife would have a child, Zechariah wrote out his response. “His name is John,” which is what the angel Gabriel told him to name his son. Then Zechariah could speak again. The neighbors and friends were amazed – that Zechariah joined with Mary to break tradition in the naming; that Zechariah could speak again; and that something amazing was going on with this older couple and with God. Word spread and amazement swept the country.
In the Bible, names are identity. Rather than following tradition, Elizabeth and Zechariah followed God’s leading and named their son according to the angel’s command, letting their son’s identity be shaped by God. John grew up to be John, the Baptizer, the one who prepared the way for Jesus, the Messiah.
We may want children to grow up to be rich and famous, but God wants them, and us, to be faithful, opening the way for the world to see Jesus.
Prayer: Lord God, in all the choices and decisions of our lives, help us to follow you. Claim us and name us as your children, that what we do might prepare the way for the coming again of the Messiah. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Author: Von Clemans
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].