Saturday, October 24, 2009

10.23 Luke 1:56-66 Naming of John

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth. Commentaries from the Gospels.

Luke 1:56- 66

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. 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 was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 The neighbors were all 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.
Calvin Abridged: These verses tell us that the birth of John was distinguished by various miracles, which gave reason to expect, that something great and remarkable would appear in the child in the future. Mary remained three months with her cousin- or until John was born: for it is probable that she had no other reason to stay so long. 58 “Her neighbors and relatives heard”- The neighbors may have heard of Zechariah’s vision, but it is even more probable that since the parents were so old and barren, that they shared their joy. Though they administered circumcision in the home, they would gather a crowd. This was a sacrament of the church, and therefore should not be done in private. 59- “they were going to name him after his father Zechariah”- Names used to be given by an occurrence or prophesy, but later people named their children after their ancestors. Habits and need sometimes become law, so they wanted to name the child after the father. We shouldn’t imagine there is sacredness in names, but believers should make a godly and profitable choice of names (so naming them after godly rather than ungodly persons is helpful- so maybe they will imitate their namesake). 60- “His name is John”- Zechariah probably informed his wife in writing what the angel had enjoined regarding the name. Otherwise, he would not have obeyed the command of God. 64- “His tongue was loosed”- God places honor on John’s birth by restoring the speech of his father. Zechariah blessed God not only to testify to his gratitude, but to tell his relatives and neighbors of God’s punishment placed upon him because he had been too slow to believe. 66- “The neighbors were filled with awe”- This fear comes from the feeling of divine power. The works of God ought to be contemplated by us so that we think more seriously about God. Though the word spread, few remembered this later. This is a general mirror of human ingratitude. We firmly remember trifling and frivolous events, but divine miracles quickly fade and disappear from our thoughts. “The Lord’s hand was with him”- this means that the grace of God was strikingly visible to show that he was no an ordinary person- and all would acknowledge the presence of God.

Thoughts; Travel was hard and sometimes unsafe, so Mary stayed awhile- until the birth. Seeing that birth strengthened her faith in the angel’s prophesies to her. When we see miracles in other, it should strengthen us. Some like to create artificial miracles to get attention- as the hoax around the weather balloon this week. The parents claimed their son was on the free-floating balloon when he was really hiding in the attic. They hoped to land a reality show from this event, instead they may land in jail. They were a leading story for five news agencies- it was much ado about nothing. It is interesting about how a standard newsmaker is a missing child. It is such an emotional event. We put pictures up in Walmart, and on milk cartons. One statistic I saw said that 85% of kidnapped children are found and unharmed. Children rightly important to us. You can imagine how the neighbors gathered over this clear miracle of a baby being born to an old, barren couple. ”John” means “God is gracious” John was a visible sign that God was gracious to the people of that day. He was to be God’s grace preparing the way for the messiah.

Prayer: Thank you for your grace, Lord. Open our eyes to see your gracious hand working in the lives of others and in the birth of children.

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