Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, ‘No! He is to be called John.’ 61 They said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who has that name.’ 62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, ‘His name is John.’ 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, ‘What then is this child going to be?’ For the Lord’s hand was with him. 67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David 70 (as He said through His holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember His holy covenant, 73 the oath He swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve Him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, 77 to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.’ 80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit ; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.”
Following yesterday’s passage, Luke jumps to the birth of John. It was common to have neighbors and relatives join in the celebration of a birth. On the eighth day, the child would have been circumcised.
It’s a forgone conclusion from friends and family that the baby would be named Zechariah after his father, but this wasn’t to be the case. Elizabeth insisted that the baby’s name was John, but the folks around her pushed back. Finally, Zechariah was handed a writing tablet and wrote out “His name is John.” To the surprise of everyone, the power of speech returned to Zechariah and he broke out in praise to God.
Zechariah realized that the birth of his son, John, indicated the coming of the Christ. He spoke of Christ’s coming as an accomplished fact before it happened. It was faith that enabled Zechariah to proclaim God had already visited and redeemed His people by sending the Redeemer.
Notice the outcome of Zechariah’s reflection and praise? He learned from his earlier mistake…he came out a stronger man of God. Having gone through what he did, Zechariah spoke to us as a more mature man. He learned from God during the silent reflection God gave him.
The lesson Zechariah learned is important. He was a man of lifelong faith who still needed to grow. We can all easily see our spiritual life as one that needs to be mastered, rather than something that needs to be maintained.
Maybe you’ve fallen into the routine of going through the motions? Like Zechariah, you’ve walked with God for a long time. Would you ask God to show you areas where you need to wake up? Ask Him to show you areas of complacency? Ask Him to give you eyes to see? Be silent before Him and listen.
Now, would you do the work of trusting God as He leads you today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.