The Birth of John

When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had been very kind to her, and they shared her joy.

When the child was eight days old, they went to the temple to circumcise him. They were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother spoke up, “Absolutely not! His name will be John.”

So they asked Zechariah to see what he wanted to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” Everyone was amazed.

Suddenly, Zechariah was able to speak, and he began to praise God.

 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel!
He has come to take care of his people
and to set them free.
He has raised up a mighty Saviour for us
in the family of his servant David.
He made this promise through his holy prophets long ago.
He promised to save us from our enemies
and from the power of all who hate us.
He has shown his mercy to our ancestors
and remembered his holy promise,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham.
He promised to rescue us from our enemies’ power
so that we could serve him without fear
 by being holy and honourable as long as we live.

“You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High.
You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare his way.
You will make his people know that they can be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
A new day will dawn on us from above
because our God is loving and merciful.
 He will give light to those who live in the dark
and in death’s shadow.
He will guide us into the way of peace.”

The child John grew and became spiritually strong.
He lived in the desert until the day he appeared to the people of Israel.