When a baby is born, does he realize all that will be required of him? Does he realize that his birth fulfills a prophecy and that he will one day baptize the one born to save the world? Think about all of the promises that were made to Zechariah that day in the Temple and all of the thoughts that must have gone through Zechariah’s mind as he heard the first cries of his son.
Since Zechariah was still unable to speak, Elizabeth tried to convince those around her that she knew what she was talking about and that although no relative had the name John, it still was to be her son’s name. Since they did not feel they should rely on Elizabeth alone, the people turned to Zechariah and asked him to signal to them what was to be the baby’s name.
In the moment Zechariah wrote the name God had provided, God rewarded Zechariah for being faithful to the word from Gabriel and restored his voice. Prophecy came true; John was born!
Being only eight days old, John would not have understood the words of his joyous father in those next moments and yet I trust that he grew up knowing that God had for him a very special and unique purpose. How could he have not known, after all, with a father who so sincerely and concretely believed in who would come after John and what role John would play in one of the most important moments of history.
To most it was just a typical ceremony in which a child is named, but for Elizabeth and Zechariah it was a day in which the promise from God came true and in turn they looked forward to the birth of Mary’s child with eager—and certain—anticipation. Did John know? Did that little baby know that one day he would lead people to their savior? In one sweet baby boy a lot was realized and much more was pointed to. Zechariah, Elizabeth, and even the newborn John, knew what was already being enacted that day and the truth of verses 78-79, and they celebrated. As we remember and look ahead, we too are able to hold to the promises which began that day and even before. Rejoice in that truth!
(Note: the above is original content written by this author in 2004. I suggest having a journal and Bible on-hand when you sit down with this devotional in order to complete the full aspects of it.)