“Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed
throughout all the hill country of Judea”
The Jews celebrated the birth of a son when he was eight days old witha festival of circumcision. Then, the parents announced hisname and he was welcomed among the chosen people. The guests arrived for the naming of Zacharias and Elisabeth’s son. His supernatural birth had been big news. Just as in the case of Jesus, John’s birth was miraculous. Everyone was rejoicing, and the guests agreed that he should be named Zacharias, like his father. But Elisabeth assured them that the angel had told Zacharias that he should be named John.
‘Why? There is no one among your relatives named John,” the guests complained. It was the custom that the son should be named after the father or the grandfather, to perpetuate and identify which family he belonged to. When they asked Zacharias by signs, he wrote: “His name is John.” At that very instant, Zacharias recovered his ability to speak (see Luke 1:57—63).
Finally, after nine months without being able to speak, because he had doubted the word of the angel, Zacharias recovered his speech. Everyone was amazed, because no one in his family had that name. John means “Jehovah is favorable,” and the name was appropriate for this special child. Zacharias’s first words were praise to God. How often do we have a wrong concept of God because we think He is punishing us? Would you praise God after suffering the consequences of your mistakes?
We can imagine that those who were with Elisabeth and Zacharias were not so much frightened as amazed; the noise of the party was transformed into reverent fear. The hand of God was evident in everything that had happened. For a long time, this must have been the main subject of conversation in that village. Everyone wondered, who is this child? What is his mission?
‘God had called the son of Zacharias to a great work, the greatest ever committed to men. In order to accomplish this work, he must have the Lord to work with him. And the Spirit of God would be with him if he heeded the instruction of the angel. John was to go forth as Jehovah’s messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God’s requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God.”— The Desire of Ages, ch. 10, p. 100.
Praise God with your voice, and with all your abilities!