Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?”
Poor Zechariah. He couldn’t talk with anyone at the temple. He couldn’t shout with glee when his first child was born to him in his old age. He couldn’t even whisper words of joy with his wife Elizabeth. He couldn’t say anything—not a word since that day he’d met an angel in the temple about ten months earlier.
It was a good thing he could write, because people were glancing his way with questioning looks. His wife, Elizabeth, had just declared that their newborn son would have the name “John” instead of a name from his father’s family. They were wondering if she was confused. So Zechariah wrote a short but very important note. He made clear that the boy was to be named John, a name indicating that his life and mission would be shaped by something other than family history.
Then another amazing thing happened. As soon as Zechariah finished writing that note, he could speak again! And what were the first words out of his mouth? Joyful words of praise to God! Words that filled people with awe.
Zechariah’s sudden song of praise got a lot of other people talking. It prepared the way for John’s future ministry, because it led people to wonder what John was going to say and do in his life. It was as if Zechariah was a “John the Baptist” for John the Baptist!
Father, Zechariah prepared the way for his son, John, who prepared the way for his cousin, Jesus the Messiah. Prepare our hearts too, O Lord, that we may receive you. Amen.
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