May 7

Rev Gav

Sign

Luke 1:57-64. Zechariah being made mute was a sign, but towards what did it point?

Luke 1:57-64

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58 And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”

61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:

68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69 He has sent us a mighty Savior
    from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised
    through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies
    and from all who hate us.
72 He has been merciful to our ancestors
    by remembering his sacred covenant—
73 the covenant he swore with an oath
    to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies
    so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
    for as long as we live.

76 “And you, my little son,
    will be called the prophet of the Most High,
    because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
    through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy,
    the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    and to guide us to the path of peace.”

80 John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.

Reflect

I love this scene of domestic chaos! The angel had told Zechariah that he was to name his child John, and Zechariah had communicated this to his wife Elizabeth — presumably by writing it down. Because Zechariah had refused to believe the message from the angel, the angel had made Zechariah mute.

It then came to the time when they were going to name the baby, and the family all wanted to name him after Zechariah. Liz stepped in and told them that the baby’s name should be John (which means ‘God’s favoured one’), but because John was not a family name, they ignored her! Dad, however, had the final word, and so they asked Zechariah to write down what the baby’s name should be. Zechariah wrote down, “His name is John,” and in doing so he acted in faith and trusted what the angel had said. As soon as he wrote the words he was able to speak again.

This whole situation was a sign, and signs pointed to things. This sign — Zechariah being unable to speak — was a mini version of the much bigger silence that had been going on for hundreds of years. Everyone knew of the promises declared by the prophets, that God’s ‘anointed one’ or Messiah or Christ would one day come. However, there had been no new prophecies for the past few hundred years. Then, all of a sudden, God had broken into the world. In the same way that Zechariah was able to speak again, God had broken the prophetic silence with the announcement of Jesus.

God worked through the situations of ordinary people leading ordinary lives and like Liz and Zechariah, he can work though our lives too.

Do

Think of a circumstance or situation in your own life — something you’re dealing with or going through. Give this over to God and ask that God might work through it.

Pray

Holy God
Help me see what you are doing in my life
and where your Spirit is at work.
Help me also see where you’re at work in the world
that I might join in with what you’re doing.
This day and for ever.
Amen.

Think

Why do you think God uses smaller signs to point to the bigger picture of what he’s doing in the world?

Lisa-Dawn Johnston Sep 12 3:10am

I think God uses smaller signs to point to the bigger things that he is doing….because it’s probably easier for our minds to relate to or grasp the smaller signs… which we can then understand as a simple example for the bigger picture. Every parable is an example of such metaphors, because we can relate to so much of the human behaviours in them… then expand the concept to explain God’s bigger plan. I’m new at this… but this is what I think.

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Lisa-Dawn Johnston Sep 12 3:28am

I love the Devotions! I enjoy reading the scriptures in a guided, interpretive manner. I gain insight from Reflect. I love the “Do”, because it reinforces the message… and reminds me to turn to God for help. I appreciate the “Pray” which helps me to think with my right mind…my mind that connects with God, and opens my mind to receive God’s message and purpose. Finally, “Think” encourages me to consider beyond the surface reading….and engages me further- thereby deepening my understanding. I gain so much more from these Devotions than if I simply read the Bible on my own. My spirit and my life is being enriched with each Devotion! I am learning and experiencing so much.

Thank you Rev Gav!

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