Sunday, February 21, 2016

Luke 1:57-66

Luke 1:57-66
And to Elizabeth, the time came for her to give birth and she gave birth to a son.  And the neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord showed His great mercy to her and they were rejoicing with her.  And it became in the eighth day that they came to circumcise the child.  And they were calling him upon the name of his father, Zechariah.  And answering, his mother said, “No.  Rather, he will be called John.  And they said to her, “There is nobody out of your kin who is being called by that name.”  And they were making signs to his father about what he might desire to call him.  And after asking for a writing tablet, he wrote while saying, “John is his name.”  And all were amazed.  And his mouth and his tongue were immediately being opened and he was speaking while praising God.  And fear came upon all the ones who lived near them.  And in the mountains of Judea all were discussing this word.  And all who heard placed it in their heart while saying, “What then will this child be?  For even the hand of the Lord was with him.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

I like the fact that Elizabeth and Zechariah do call their child John.  Of course, this is what Gabriel told them to do.  We’ll get to that in the next point.  But for this point, I like this name because it really highlights that God is doing something new.  This baby is not named after any of his kin.  He doesn’t have shoes to fill.  There is no human analog for John.  He is able to do something new as God desires of him.  He can herald the coming of Jesus, God’s Messiah, who is the ultimate new thing that God is doing.  Even something as simple as the name of a child can point us to what God is doing.

Where have you been able to see God doing something new?  Do you find it easy to see God’s hand at work?  Do you find that you are able to follow Him when He does something new in your life?

Second Thought:

I think one of the most important aspects of this story is that all of the people around Elizabeth and Zechariah are talking about what is going on.  This is a strange story indeed.  A barren woman becomes pregnant.  Her husband is mute until the child is named and then miraculously finds his voice.  Everything about this situation is worth discussion.  The people respond.  The people take note.  The people around them find their eyes open – at least temporarily – to God’s hand at work.  Yes, God performs mighty acts to accomplish His will.  But when God acts, it is good to take notice and discuss what might be happening, too.

Have you ever witnessed a strange occurrence and heard people talk about it?  Why is it good to have people talk?  Do you think it is ever possible for people to over-discuss?  What is the problem with discussing something too much?

Third Thought:

I love the obedience of Elizabeth and Zechariah that we see in this story.  Of course, we hear the obedience of the naming.  Certainly Zechariah and Elizabeth obey the instructions of Gabriel.  But what I am talking about is the obedience in the more mundane things.  They bring the child to be circumcised on the proper day.  They find an opportunity to praise God rather than talk about themselves.  These are obedient people, not just in the big things but also in the small things.

Is it easier for you to be obedient in the big things or in the small things?  What makes obedience easy?  What makes it difficult?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 1:67-80
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