Zechariah accepted that life was not always fair, and that people were not perfect. But still it rankled the way people blamed his lovely Elizabeth for her barren state. Some even dared to tell him he should divorce her and find a young wife who would bear him sons. But how could he ever do such a thing? She had always been there for him, in good times and in bad, always supporting and never criticizing even when it was obviously his fault. His fault. That’s probably why they didn’t have children. God was punishing him for his past sins. In his youth he had let his temper get away with him too many times. Even now, he was given to fits of temper. Worse, he would often doubt his creator. Sometimes it seemed that Logic was his god. That’s why, when the angel had told him Elizabeth would bear a child, he had protested that it wasn’t possible. And when her pregnancy was undeniable, he wept over the accusations that it wasn’t his child. But he Elizabeth would never be unfaithful, he knew. There was no denying that she loved him and that he loved her with all his heart.
Now she lay before him with the new babe in her arms. Heart full of love, he placed his hand on the infant’s downy head, looked up to heaven, and breathed a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the gift God had blessed them with. Then tears crept down his face as he bent over and kissed his wife. The voice God had silenced could not speak the words of love and faith he felt.
The next week, family and neighbors gathered for the naming. It was an important day for the entire community. Sara led the group who cooed over the baby. “You will call him Zechariah, after his father, of course.” Zechariah stiffened. Her statement was an underhanded challenge of Elizabeth’s faithfulness. If his wife protested and insisted the child should be named John, Sara would take it as a confirmation of those suspicions. If nothing was said, the child would not be given the name John as the angel had decreed. He had to speak out, but he had no voice!
Please, O God, hear my prayer. With you, nothing is impossible! This is the child your angel promised. He needs to be named John, according to your will. I do believe, I do! Give me the words that I may speak his name. John – Yahweh has shown favor – to us and to his people.” Then he took up a tablet and wrote down the name, and shoved it into Sara’s hands. This was his son, the promised of the Lord. Nothing, nothing was impossible! Then he opened his mouth and prophesied for all to hear. “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High!”