This week we will look at the song of Zechariah, which comes after the naming of John at his circumcision. God gives speech to Zechariah as he states his son’s name, and Zechariah gives speech to his praise of God, giving a beautiful benediction after more than nine months of silence. Use these devotions this week privately or as a family to keep your focus on God and draw closer to him as we prepare for his coming.
May God be glorified in our lives,
What’s in a Name?
Consider: Why did your parents give you your name? What is the importance or meaning of your name?
Learn: Read Luke 1:8-13, 57-66 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John…. Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
Names are important in the Bible. Their importance can be seen in the passage that we are considering today. When the angel visited Zechariah, he told Zechariah the child’s name. When Zechariah did not believe, the discipline he received from the angel was that he would not be able to speak until the promise was fulfilled. When the child was born, Zechariah still could not speak. On the day when he was to be named, Elizabeth said the child was to be called John. The relatives didn’t agree, so they asked his father, who hadn’t spoken in over nine months. It seems he couldn’t hear either. As he wrote his answer, the first word to be written was “John.” Then his tongue was loosed – when he displayed the faith to write “his name is John.” God showed mercy to Zechariah through John’s birth, which is what John’s name means, God is merciful.
Zechariah, who experienced God’s mercy in this whole event, means God remembers. God remembered his promise to Zechariah, but even more so he remembered his promises to his people to send the forerunner, John, to go before his promised Messiah.
Elizabeth, who suffered barrenness and shame for many years, trusted God and lived up to her name, which means God is faithful. They both believed in the coming Savior, which is what Jesus’ name means,
Apply: Consider some of God’s names in Isaiah 9:6-7. Take some time to worship God for who he is described to be by these wonderful names.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.