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God is Gracious

Zechariah greeted the arrival of his son in silence. He had been visited by the Angel Gabriel and told that he and his wife, Elizabeth, both of advanced age, would be blessed with a son. When he expressed his disbelief he was struck dumb and told he would not be able to speak until after his son had been born.

When Elizabeth gives birth he must have been both frustrated and thankful in different measures. He knows just how special his child will be and is unable to tell anybody. His initial doubt in God's power leaves him unable to tell anyone about it. When they ask what the child is to be called there is surprise when Elizabeth says what has became in English "John". Why not a family name? Well "John" is just a short English way of saying "Johannes", the Latin sound-alike for the name meaning "God is gracious." Zechariah will have remembered the words Gabriel spoke to him and affirms the given name. He is rewarded for this act of acceptance with the return of his own voice. John The Baptist goes on to become the herald for Jesus, finding his own voice to prepare the way for the Messiah. His prophetic witness is an example that we are all called to share in by virtue of our own baptism. Zechariah's experience shows how we need to trust fully in God's word if we are to find our own voice.

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