When the time came for Elizabeth to deliver, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her his lovingkindness and they rejoiced with her.
Eight days later when the boy was about to be circumcised, the assumption was that the child would be named after his father, Zechariah. However, his mother spoke up and said, “Absolutely not. His name must be John!”
They replied, “How is this? ‘John’ is not a name found among your kin.”
Then they gestured to Zechariah to learn what name he had in mind for the child. He asked for a writing tablet and to the amazement of all he wrote, “His name is John.”
At that instant Zechariah’s tongue was freed, his mouth was opened and he was enabled to speak again, and speak he did, praising God.
All the neighbors were awestruck and throughout Judea’s hill country everyone talked about all these things. Everyone who heard this pondered and asked, “What will this child become?” Clearly, the Lord’s hand was with him. (Luke 1:57-66 DSV – John is born)
1. “The Lord had shown her great mercy.” (1:58) What is the word behind the word “mercy” here and how is it used elsewhere in Luke’s Gospel?
2. What does the name “John” mean? What was the significance of John being given this specific name from God?
3. There’s seems to be a connection here in this passage between the ritual of circumcision on the eighth day and the naming of a child. What do we know about the rituals and happenings of such a moment in the lives of these people at that time? What was the ceremony like?
4. “Praising God” and being filled with “awe” are themes that run throughout Luke-Acts. Where else in Luke do the words “praise” and “awe” appear in Luke’s Gospel and in what settings?
5. “For the Lord’s hand was with him” and expressions very similar run throughout the Bible. Where else does it appear in Scripture and in what contexts?