When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.
When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!” and they made signs to his father for the name he wanted to give him. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John;” and they were very surprised. Immediately, Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God.
A holy fear came on all in the neighborhood, and throughout the hill country of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it, pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?” For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.
The time of God’s visitation to His people is finally made sure by the birth of the precursor. With John’s birth, there is no turning back on the part of God. One event will lead to another culminating in humanity’s redemption. The neighbors of Elizabeth and Zechariah have all the reason to rejoice. Despite not knowing that John heralded the coming of the Messiah, still they knew that something big was coming, the magnitude of which they had no idea at all. They only knew that God’s finger was working overdrive. It would be a long time before they could connect the dots between John and Jesus in the future.