LGD 159: What’s In a Name?

Mom holding a baby (black & white)

Christmas is five days away and closing quickly.

In The Ten Days of Christmas Advent series, we have been on a journey through the Old Testament prophecies and following Mary and Elizabeth through their pregnancies.

Mom holding a baby (black & white)
Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

On the sixth day of Christmas, we pick up the story as it is now time for Elizabeth to give birth to her son.

I bet the anticipation of giving birth was overwhelming. Some scholars believe that Elizabeth and Zechariah were around sixty years old when she gave birth to her son.

Yikes… It still does not beat Sarah (Abraham’s wife) at the age of 90, but it’s a close second.

Elizabeth and Zechariah must have been the talk of the town. Luke says,

“Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.”

Luke 1:58

Even after the birth of his son, Zechariah was still unable to speak. I assume he got tired of writing all of his answers to questions.

If I were him, I would have been begging God to bring the baby quickly and asking daily to have my voice restored.

As was customary during this time, the young baby was to be circumcised soon after his birth. On the eighth day, they gathered for this tradition.

Also, most children were named after someone in their family. Most men were named after their fathers, and the relatives and neighbors assumed their son would be named after papa Zechariah.

But, Elizabeth said, his name shall be John.

Imagine the gasps and questions as the phrase hung in the air. They replied, there is no one in your family with that name.

She stuck to what the Angel Gabriel told her, but those around her wanted a second opinion, so they asked Zechariah.

Luke records these words,

“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.'”

Luke 1:62-63

And with his writing proclamation, his voice was restored, and he began speaking and praising God.

This baby was special and the people of the land recognized it.

“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 1:66

As we have come to call him, John the Baptist would grow up to be the forerunner for the yet-to-be-born Christ child.

As the chapter closes, Luke says,

“And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.”

Luke 1:80

Just like his parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, John grew up with the Lord, but his faith was clearly his own.

What’s in a name?

Zechariah and Elizabeth broke from tradition and named their son John as they had been instructed. They knew their baby had a special call upon his life, and hopefully, they were not around to see his death as a martyr.

I wonder if they knew who he would become when they held him in their arms.

My name (David) means beloved. What does your name mean?

Are you living up to your name or the calling that has been placed upon your life as a follower of Christ?

When we receive Christ in our life, we are called daughters and sons of the King. You are special. You are blessed. You are part of the Lord’s eternal family.

What’s in our name as Christ followers?

We are children of the Most High God, and that is something to be proud of!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for sending John to pave the way for your Son. More importantly, thank you for sending your Son to be born so we could join your family for all eternity. Amen!


The Ten Days of Christmas Series

I am the host of an ABF Lifegroup - a collection of folks doing community and life together. We are a ministry of Agoura Bible Fellowship. When I am not leading this group, I love to travel, take photographs, share stories, and design workspaces that matter.

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