About the same time, Elizabeth gave birth to her son (9). Her neighbors and relatives heard how good God had been to her, and they all rejoiced with her.
When the baby was a week old, they came to dedicate him to God. Some family members & friends wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. But Elizabeth said, “No, his name will be John.” They said to her, “But you don’t have any relative with that name!”
Then they made signs to his father, asking him what name he would like the boy to have. Zechariah asked for a slate and wrote, “His name is John” — which astonished everyone there. Suddenly, Zechariah was able to speak again, and he started praising God. Now everyone was even more astonished!
Then Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he spoke this message from God: “Let us praise God! He has come to help his people and to set us free. He has provided for us a mighty Savior, a descendant of his servant David.
“He promised through the prophets long ago that he would save us from all who hate us. He promised our ancestor Abraham that he would show mercy to us & rescue us from our enemies. Now, he wants us to serve him without fear, and to be holy & righteous before him all the days of our lives.”
To the baby John, Zechariah said: “You, my child, will be called a prophet of God. You will go ahead of the Messiah (10)– to prepare the way for him, to tell his people that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven.
“Our God is merciful and tender. He will cause the light of salvation to dawn upon us, to shine from heaven on all those who live in the dark shadow of death, and to guide our steps into the path of peace.”
The news about these things spread through the hill country of Judea. Everyone who heard of it wondered, “What sort of life will this child have?” For it was plain that God’s power was upon him.
The child grew and developed in body and spirit. He lived in the desert until the day when he appeared publicly to the people of Israel — as John the Baptizer.
(9) Luke 1:57-80
(10) In the inspired Jewish scriptures, Jesus is usually referred to as the Messiah. In the inspired Christian scriptures, Jesus is usually referred to as the Christ. Both these titles mean that Jesus is the Savior; he came to save us from our sinful selves.