On the eight day they came to cicumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, "No; he is to be called John." They said to her, "None of your relatives has this name." They then began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. Luke 1: 59-62 NRSV
I have never thought about this part of the story as particularly controversial. However, here is the boy who has been born from older parents who have never had any children. The father is mute, supposedly from receiving a vision in the Temple. The priests and rabbis want to name the child after his father - a very traditional name choice. But the mother wants to name him John.
Now, these holy men know good and well that there is not one person in their family that has that name. They even say so. The implication seems to be - is this child even Zechariah's child? Or did you commit some adultery with someone named John?
I have really never realized how dangerous this situation could have become for Elizabeth as well as for the baby. There must have been someone in the room holding their breath during this whole exchange. A day of rejoicing and ceremony could have quickly become a day of accusations and death.
Let's turn now to the father who can verify (hopefully) that this is truly his own son.
God, accepting your word and your message sometimes means we can be in very uncomfortable places. Help us and give us the courage we need to speak your Truth. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims