Luke Chapter 1
“When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, ‘No! He is to be called John.’
They said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who has that name.’ Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, ‘His name is John.’
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, ‘What then is this child going to be?’ For the Lord’s hand was with him.” ~Luke 1:57-66 (NIV) ...
The first information gleaned from Elizabeth’s successful labor is how she gave birth to a son. This simple news points directly to the fulfillment of the angel’s prophecy. If you recall, the first news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy which Gabriel foretold was the gender of the child she would bear. This simple birth announcement validates and confirms all which Gabriel told Zachariah. It shouts, “it is true, it is true!”
Here begins a rapid, unfolding succession of God’s fulfillment of His promises. First, Gabriel accurately foretells of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Next, the prophecy of how John the Baptist would be filled with the Holy Spirit prior to his actual birth likewise came true. Now, we see how Elizabeth did indeed give birth to a boy as foretold. Then, in the very next sentence we see the fulfillment of yet another of Gabriel’s prophecies.
The angel told Zechariah that “many would rejoice at his (John’s the Baptist) birth.” We see this promise fulfilled directly after John the Baptist’s birth announcement. “And her neighbors and relatives had heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy and they shared her great joy.” Wow! How exciting to witness the fruition of several specific prophecies within just this first chapter of Luke. This unfolding of simple facts confirms yet again, how we can trust the validity and truth of Luke’s words. More importantly, it validates how we can trust God’s Word as truth.
Moreover, take notice of the circumstances surrounding the naming of Elizabeth’s and Zachariah’s son. It was custom to name the first male child after his father. However, Elizabeth speaks up against tradition and popular opinion. “No! He is to be called John.”
Let us stop here. How many times have we been faced with the pressure to follow the crowd or to do what is popular rather than speak up for what is right and true? I confess too many times I have cared more about fitting in than obeying my Lord. It should not take a supernatural experience for me to stand up for Jesus.
But let us be encouraged by Elizabeth’s example. Notice how Elizabeth’s response was not timid but an exclamation. She spoke with great conviction. Like Elizabeth, we can speak up with strength and boldness for God and His ways; especially when accepted practices fly contrary to the Word of God.
Similar to today’s times, Elizabeth experienced push back when she spoke up against social norms. Her community argued back, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” Also, like today, they responded by seeking another to affirm their way of thinking. It is humorous how they attempt to ascertain their desired response by consulting with the parent who has been mute for over nine months. But to their surprise, Zachariah writes, “His name is John.” Then, immediately following his obedience, Zachariah’s tongue was set free.
Just like Zechariah’s tongue was freed when he obeyed with the naming of his son, we also experience freedom through our obedience to God. With obedience in Christ comes freedom. God does not create rules to bind us and make life boring. He has given us principles to obey because He knows what we need to flourish. After all, He knows what is best for us because He created us. When we obey His Word and do as He says, we experience true freedom in Christ.
A Parent's Prayer
Oh God, please help me to speak up for Your truth and not remain silent. Please bless me with the strength and courage to do what is right, especially in the face of opposition. Oh God, let me be a voice for You amidst the masses and be salt and light to the world. Amen.
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