To the surprise of everyone Elizabeth and Zacharia affirm, contrary to the habitual expectation, that their son shall be named John. What does John mean?
The child’s name was not given at random. At different epochs, in different cultures, there have been ways of giving the name to the newly born baby. In the culture of Zacharia and Elizabeth, like in some cultures even today, a baby is given the name of one of the family members -as a way of perpetuating the lineage. But this child, of the parents’ old age, breaks the custom; his name will be John even though none of his relatives was called by such name. And John means: God is gracious.
Readings Malachi 3: 1–4, 23–24 Psalm 25: 4–5, 8–10, 14 Luke 1: 57–66
Indeed, God has been gracious to this couple that lived always not only in the desire of having a baby but also in the disgrace of not being able to have one. He answered their cry.
Today, there are people, for one reason or another, who are going through similar experience as that of Zacharia and Elizabeth -living unfulfilled desires, especially the humiliation of unchosen childlessness. You may have waited patiently with faith till there’s no hope left. But where human strength ends, there begins the divine power. Despite whatever bareness you may be suffering today, just know, God is gracious -He will give you a John, He will be gracious to you.
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