Here’s the link for those who like to read online. The link will take you to Bible Gateway where the page will open to reveal just the relevant passage. There is no need to click through loads of options.
It must have been very difficult for Zechariah, unable to speak and almost certainly deaf (1:62), he’d had plenty of time to reflect on his earlier faithless response to Gabriel. He had watched as Elizabeth’s pregnancy developed and probably wondered if it was all too good to be true. He would have known of Mary’s visit and that there were in fact two miraculous pregnancies. He had communicated at least something of what Gabriel had said to him to his wife and it’s clear, that as a couple, they had resolved to be obedient to his words.
Culture affects all of us far more than we like to admit. It’s a lens through which we see the world and it can be hard to understand those from other cultures who see things through their own cultural lenses. It was unusual for a child to receive a name from outside the family in Zechariah’s culture. Yet God wanted the child to have the name John (God is gracious). This meant that the parents had to stand against their culture, something John would do as an adult.
A few years ago I was chatting to a Christian from South Korea about the situation in the North where believers are persecuted. He told me that when Christians escape the PRK the thing they are most desperate to do is to sing praise, something I take for granted. Zechariah had been silent for more than nine months watching as God fulfilled his promises, when he finally had the chance to speak, he made it count, praising God.
God calls us to stand out against areas of our own cultures. It is never easy and we should do it peacefully and with respect
We give thanks that you kept your word to Zechariah in spite of his failures. Help us Lord to stand for you in our own situations and help us to make the most of the opportunities that we receive.