The name John means "Gods grace". He was conceived
uniquely. Zacharias and Elizabeth were already old. She was past child-bearing age. They
were a righteous couple for the Bible says they were "just". But they had no
children. When God sent His angel Gabriel to tell Zacharias that his wife will bear a son,
he couldnt understand how it would be possible and he didnt believe it. He
sinned in his unbelief, saying to the angel, "how can it be?" It was God
speaking to him, but he couldnt accept it. God doesnt make a mistake. God can
It is tragic when someone who is known to be righteous, someone
you can count on, get confused spiritually.
This unbelief of Zacharias was a great sin. God struck him right
there so that he could no longer speak.
God is a God of love and grace, but if you do not believe Him and
go against Him you call Him a liar and we will be punished. He does it because you are His
child, just like an earthly father disciplines his child if it does wrong. If you sin and
nothing happens, it shows that youre an illegitimate child, and not a true child of
God. Dont doubt God. If you doubt Him you make Him out to be a liar. Dont take
it lightly when God speaks.
When you doubt God you lose out. His grace is more than enough but
you will stay in your confusion until you bend your will to His.
There is the story told of some travellers from Europe to America.
This particular family had saved up for their tickets. The mother had baked many rusks for
the journey. After a while one of the sons begged his father for a little money saying:
"I'm so tired of the rusks; may I please go and buy something. The father gave him a
crown and the boy went to the shop on board. After a long while he returned happy and his
tummy full. His father asked how such a little money could so far. The boy exclaimed: When
I wanted to pay for it I was told everything is free. The food is included in our
tickets!". God's grace is all inclusive. Don't make yourself suffer!
Zacharias obviously shared his experience with his wife Elizabeth.
There was peace and harmony between them. They were an exemplary couple. We dont
hear that she complained that she was too old. When the child was delivered, on the eighth
day he was circumcised, and all the neighbours came together. From this we also see the
good relationship they had with their neighbours. They had indeed received grace from God
above. Their lives displayed Gods grace.
When the child was circumcised, they gave him the name John. The
people were surprised for there was no one with that name in their family. Gods way
is not our way. He does things in His own way. When they asked the father, Zacharias, he
wrote down that his name is indeed John, and everyone was amazed. At that moment
Gods grace was revealed and Zachariah's tongue was loosed again and he could speak.
What does it teach us? We should not listen to what people say,
but to what God says. Even if they disagree now, if you go Gods way, He will fight
for you, and you will be vindicated. Even if people say, "how is such a thing
possible?", later they will have to acknowledge that it was Gods working. This
is a great lesson for us, that Zacharias doubted, but in the end Gods grace was
revealed as he believed God.
In the last verse we read that the child grew and became strong in
spirit. Gods power was manifested through him. It often happens that the youngest
child in a family is spoilt. John was not only the youngest, but the only child. But he
grew up and became strong in spirit. His parents didnt spoil him. He grew up in a
difficult way. He wore clothes of camels hair, which is very coarse. His food was
honey which he got out himself, and locusts. He became a real man. When his king lived in
adultery, he confronted him and told him that it was wrong what he was doing. It cost him
his life and he lost his head for it, but he spoke Gods truth without wavering.
How do you bring up your children? Do you spoil them to their
destruction or train them in Gods way like Johns parents did so that they grow
up and become strong in spirit? We dont read once that John spoke idle words. What
do your children speak about? Is Gods grace manifested in their lives?