Tuesday, January 8, 2008

His Name is John

Luke records that an angel appeared to Zacharias, a priest serving in the temple. The angel told Zacharias, "your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John" (Luke 1:13). The angel went on to tell Zacharias that this child would grow up and be the forerunner of the Messiah, as prophesied by Malachi (Luke 1:17; Malachi 4:5-6). Zacharias did not immediately believe the angel, so he was struck with silence until the time the child was born (Luke 1:20).

After the child was born, their neighbors and relatives gathered to rejoice over the birth (Luke 1:57-58). The question came up about what to name the child. The friends and family suggested naming him Zacharias, after his father (Luke 1:59). Elizabeth said, "No indeed; but he shall be called John" (Luke 1:60). The others, however, could not see any reason to name the child John, and essentially questioned Elizabeth's decision (Luke 1:61).

Then they asked Zacharias. Since he still could not speak, he wrote, "His name is John" (Luke 1:63). Luke then records, "at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God" (Luke 1:64).

Zacharias' statement was worded in a way to show that this was already determined. Not, 'he will be called John,' but 'he is John.' Before and while others were discussing possible names, the child's name was John. Why? That was God's will. No suggestion from anyone else could change what God said.

This must be our attitude in all things relating to our service to God and response to His word. When God's word instructs us to do something, we should determine that that is what we will do, even before the situation arrives that requires us to act and regardless of what others think.

Right is right. Sin is sin. No amount of deliberation will change that. "His name is John." That is what God determined. That is the way it is.

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