Zacharias and Elisabeth: The Lord Was Good

Last week, Mary arrived to visit with Elisabeth and Zacharias.  When Mary arrived, Elisabeth was filled with the holy spirit.  The child within her began to leap for joy when Mary arrived.

We know that Mary stayed for several months.  It is possible {although we are not told} that she may have been present at the birth of John the Baptist.

Elisabeth gave birth…we don’t know if Mary was still visiting or not

Luke 1:57-66 (ASV)
57  Now Elisabeth’s time was fulfilled that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son.

“In these verses, we have an account of the birth of John the Baptist, and the great joy among all the relations of the family.”  {Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.}

58  And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her, and

they rejoiced with her.

Her neighbors and kinsfolk {could this include Mary} rejoiced with her.  They saw God’s mercy in this act.

The people rejoiced when John was born

59  And it came to pass on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him Zacharias, after the name of the father.

“The name commonly given to the eldest son was that of the father.”   {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

“Male children were named at their circumcision, probably because at that time the names of Abram and Sarai had been changed (Gen 17:5, 15). Females were named when they were weaned.”   {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

60  And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.

“Zacharias had evidently written, and thus communicated to his wife all that the angel had

Elisabeth said his name was John

told him, and how the child was to be named John.”  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

61  And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.

The townspeople were going off of tradition of naming a child after his father or kinsmen.  They could not understand why the old couple decided to name their son John.

62  And they made signs to his father, what he would have him called. The people wanted Zacharias input.  Maybe they hoped that he would be more sensible in the tradition of naming their son.  But Zacharias knew what the angel had told him.  He knew what the name of his son was.

The people asked Zacharias

63  And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.

 Zacharias wrote his son’s name and the people were surprised.

 “tablets were sometimes made of lead, but were usually small wooden boards, either smeared with wax, or having sand sprinkled over them, on which words were written with an iron stylus or pencil.”
{The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

“He shall be called Johanan, or “Gracious,” because he shall bring in the gospel of Christ, wherein God’s grace shines most bright.”   {Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.}

And they marveled.   “Being surprised that both parents should thus unite upon an unexpected name.”

Zacharias wrote his name is John

{The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

64  And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, blessing God.

 Zacharias was immediately able to speak, upon writing down his son’s name.  after months of being mute, his tongue was finally loosened.

“Zacharias recovered his speech. Unbelief closed his mouth, and believing opened it again: he believers, therefore he speaks. When God opens our lips, our mouths must show forth his praise; and better be without speech, than not use it in praising God.”   {Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.}

65  And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.

The news spread throughout the land of John’s birth and all that had happened.  The news spread throughout the hill country.  Clearly something miraculous and holy had happened.  What was the Lord doing?

“The miraculous phenomena attending the birth of John made the people so conscious of the presence of God as to fill them with awe. The influence of this fear spread far and wide until the chills and tremors of expected changes and revolutions were felt even by the citizens of Rome, as their poets and historians testify.”  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

“The remarkable circumstances attending the birth of John, and the fact that Zacharias was suddenly restored to speech, convinced them that God was there, and filled their minds with awe and veneration.”   {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

The people were in awe

66  And all that heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, What then shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.

“It is said, The hand of the Lord was working with John. God has ways of working on children in their infancy, which we cannot account for. We should observe the dealings of God, and wait the event.”
{Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.}

What then shall this child be?   “We probably find an echo of this question thirty years later when John entered upon his ministry—John 1:19.”  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

Zacharias began to praise God

It was obvious to everyone that witnessed these events that the Lord was at work.  They may not have understood the what and why’s, but they knew that God was definitely up to something.

There are times when we do not understand the circumstances and trials in our lives.  However, we can see and feel that God is working and up to something.  We just don’t know what or why.  Sometimes we just have to wait on His timing and seek His will and advice in our situation, as we wait for the circumstances to play themselves out.

In what ways is the Lord working in your life?


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