Luke 1: 59-61 “On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
This was more than a Jewish ritual. This for Zechariah and Elizabeth was them saying we want our son to start right, we want him under the ancient covenant of Abraham. They knew that in time he would have to understand the circumcision of the heart but now this is a symbol of what is to come when their son truly walked with God in full knowledge. The ceremony was also an opportunity to name the child revealing the story of the parents and the faithfulness of God to them.
- Watch for those who assume control.
Zechariah cannot speak so others assumed they would step up and initiate control. They no doubt did it out of right motives but they were not in line with the will of God. Who is controlling you? Prevent whatever it is taking you away from what God has promised and ordered.
- Watch for those who presume from what is the norm.
For a son to be named after his father was a proud moment and one that was seen as the culturally normal thing to happen. Not to do so would have caused eyebrows to be raised as to why. When Elizabeth objects she is dismissed because for them her suggestion was not acceptable. They were steeped in beliefs, disciplines and practices going back generations. They were locked in. “Elizabeth you cannot name him John, there is no one in your family with that name.” People can become offended when they presume through cultural eyes. I heard recently of how a group of orthodox Christians left a church because the Pastor was not baptising the ladies in white robes. Yes, here in the UK, 2018!
- Watch for those who are not in alignment with you or what God has said to you.
John’s name means “Yahweh is gracious” and Zechariah’s name means “Yahweh remembers”. Not a massive difference and does it matter? Yes if God had said to call their son John! Good, praiseworthy and ‘it makes sense’ isn’t necessarily obedience. Elizabeth protected her son’s identity.
Be careful of good, well intentioned people, they can be worse than your enemies if you do not stick to what God has said to you. Watch out!