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.
And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people”
We’re going to spend another few days on a great prayer surrounding the birth of Jesus, but we have to set it up first.
Remember that Zechariah was serving in the temple when he was struck mute at the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist. An angel appeared to him face to face and made him unable to speak until the birth of his son. At least 9 months later (because Elizabeth didn’t get pregnant right away) here they are at the baby’s circumcision ceremony and only once they give him the name ‘John’ does Zechariah get his speech back. [I love it how Elizabeth knew to name him ‘John.’ Husbands and wives can communicate without words!]
The first things Zechariah says were blessings. At the sight and sound of this miracle, everyone became afraid because they knew that God was at work among them. All over Judea the people were talking about “these things.” It’s funny that the first way they got everyone’s attention was the name the boy something that nobody in the family was named. A little break from tradition, a little changing of customs, and BOOM! — Everyone is paying attention.
Then Zechariah The Mute, who everyone in town knew about since they knew he was a priest and knew he had a vision so many months ago—SPEAKS! He doesn’t burst forth with a bunch of complaints or grumbles he’d been saving up. He bursts out with blessings. He is blessing God because now that he can speak, another statement from that angel has come true.
Elizabeth had a baby.
Zechariah was struck mute.
He can speak again now that the baby is born and named John.
You know now that Zechariah remembers what Gabriel told him in the temple:
[John] will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:15–17,63–68
Now that promised child is here, and salvation is imminent.