When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 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.” Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
The news was unbelievable. The angel Gabriel told Zechariah that he was going to be a father, a dream the old priest had put to death long ago. As a sign of the angel’s authority, Zechariah was rendered speechless for the duration of the pregnancy.
When Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, gave birth, her friends and family celebrated with her. They expected the child to be named after someone in the family and were surprised when she said, “He is to be called John.” They appealed to Zechariah who wrote on a tablet, “His name is John.” Then Zechariah’s speech was restored and he began to praise God.
Not everyone knew about Gabriel’s visit to Zechariah regarding the birth of John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way for Jesus. But the manner of his birth to parents well past childbearing age, and Zechariah’s recovered speech left them “filled with awe.” They knew that this child was destined for a special assignment, “For the Lord’s hand was with him.”
Father, because of Your grace, every person is destined for a special assignment. Because of Jesus, Your hand is always with us. In His name. Amen.
For parents: Remind your children that when a person trusts in Jesus, he or she is significant, secure, accepted, forgiven, and empowered (SSAFE). Remind them that God has a special assignment for them. Discuss what they think that special assignment might be. While this conversation is personal, we’d love to hear about the things you learned as you discussed this with your children. Share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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