The Nativity of John the Baptist

Elizabeth and Zechariah Name Their Son John

Luke 1: 57 - 67

Mary, the mother of Jesus, went to stay with Elizabeth and Zechariah before Jesus was born. It was to Elizabeth that she sang her song of praise, which we call the Magnificat.

After Mary returned home, Elizabeth, like Sarah in her old age, gave birth to John, whose name means " God has been gracious" in Greek. Even in the culturally diverse area of the Galilee, it was surprising for a priest to give his only son a Greek name.

"That which is commanded" refers to the bris, or ceremony of circumcision, of Jewish law, which was required to show that a man had chosen to follow God's ways. Christians no longer require circumcision, because in Christ the law has been fulfilled.

Zechariah's writing tablet was probably a small slate, from which the letters could be erased. Paper was not available in most households, and it would have been used for making books, not for writing notes.

The "hill country" may refer to the Nazareth hills, which would indicate that Zechariah and Elizabeth may well have lived in Dabaritta.

What a wonderful day to rejoice with Zechariah in the return of his speech as we sing "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" (Lutheran Book of Worship 559). Like us, Zechariah had only one tongue, but on that day, it must have felt like a thousand.

1. How did the neighbors and relatives feel when John was born?

[The neighbors and relatives were all glad for Elizabeth.]

2. What did Zechariah choose to name the baby?

[Zechariah named the baby, John.]

3. How did Zechariah tell the people what he wanted?

[Zechariah wrote it on a writing tablet.]

4. What happened as soon as Zechariah wrote down the name?

[As soon as Zechariah wrote the name down, he regained his speech.]

5. What did the neighbors think?

[The neighbors thought that this was a special child.]

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