Monday, November 17, 2008
"What then will this child be?"
My Bible reading plan has me in the beginning of the Gospel of Luke and so I get to enjoy one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story, the birth of John to Elizabeth and Zechariah. I especially enjoy the squabbling over what to name the child. Elizabeth proposes "John" to which the extended family and neighbors (!) scoff since no one else in their family has that name. They turn to the mysteriously mute father for his ruling. Zechariah asks for a tablet and writes "His name is John." Immediately his tongue is loosed and he speaks blessing God.
The extended family and neighbors, outgunned by Providence, respond in wonder and fear asking, "What then will this child be?" Again, Zechariah has the answer, which I will give in short here, "this child will point others to Jesus."
That doesn't sound too unusual; why, we can all do that. Perhaps that is why Jesus says of John, "the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." So I take up the words of a man's newly loosened tongue and pray for my soon to be 9-year old daughter. As she "grows and becomes strong in spirit" may she "give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God."