The birth of a child always brings joy! New life, a new start, a new beginning are all positive events and worthy of JOY! John’s arrival was joyous and mysterious too. As was the custom of the day, the boys were named and circumcised on the 8th day of life. Both were significant events for the birth parents. Their child had survived the birth process and was ready to enter the world with a permanent name. From the text, we can see that boys were to be named after their parent or grandparent or some relative in the past. New names were unheard of, except for John. Elizabeth knew that God had ordained that their son was to be named John and that he had a special mission to fulfill. He would call people to repentance and ready the way for the coming of the Savior. Here is how the scene unfolded.
Luke 1:57-66 “When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
Is it any wonder that the first words out of Zechariah’s mouth were words of Praise? He had been silent for 9 months knowing he was being held accountable for his doubt. His waiting period transformed his doubt into praise. I love the way scripture describes it, “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free“. It was as if his tongue had been held captive and his mouth closed. It reminds me of the salvation process. Once you encounter Jesus your mouth is opened to praising God with knowledge of who He is personally to you and you are set free from the bondage of sin. I would imagine Zechariah wanted to praise God because he was overcome by God’s power and goodness. He had not been able to speak those long months and now he could. Has God ever kept you waiting for something you knew would be wonderful? Zechariah knew his son would be just who God wanted him to be and that he was to have a part in it. He was going to be able to have input into the raising of this special child. The waiting increased his faith and caused him to spill over with joyous praises.
One such time of waiting in my life was when God had me waiting to become a mother. I knew that God had a child for me, and that we were going to be a family. Our journey from infertility to adoption was a long one with many twists and turns, but I held to the belief that God had a child for me. After many years of waiting, our daughter arrived from Korea on December 1 and my life was never the same. That first Christmas was one of great blessing and joy! It was wonderful, terrifying and yet so glorious. The waiting increased my joy and strengthened my faith.
Think back to a time when God had you wait. Did the waiting increase your joy? Was your patience rewarded with peace and hope in what you received? If we got everything right away, we would begin to lose the joy and anticipation of what was to come. God’s plan is always for my good and brings Him glory. If you are in a waiting period, take heart and let praises be on your lips. Trust in the goodness of God and let joy be in your heart as you rejoice in the coming of your Savior.