Episode #4: John
Since the angel had appeared to me in the temple and silenced my disbelief, no word had left my mouth.
When the baby kicked, I remained silent. During the labour, words failed me. When I met my son, nothing.
A lifetime of words, and now I had none.
As family members passed my newborn son around, my mouth was so dry. I wanted to shout to the whole world about God’s greatness.
“Zechariah,” they said with a smile, as they held him for the first time.
But Elizabeth spoke up, “No! He’s to be called John.”
I looked at her. She stood there miraculously. An old woman, who only eight days earlier had given birth and lived. She never caused a fuss, but now her eyes seemed to burn with fire.
‘But there’s no one in this family called John,’ they protested.
They looked to me. I pointed to a writing tablet nearby and without thinking I dipped my finger in the ink. I wrote, His name is John. The name the angel had told me.
As the room gasped, I felt my tongue loosen.
‘His name is John!’ I shouted, my arms raised in the air. ‘Praise God!’
I bounded like a younger man towards John and held him. Elizabeth’s eyes were wet with tears as she came to stand with us. I felt God’s Spirit upon me.
“You will prepare the way for God, so the people know their rescue is coming - forgiveness of sins! And then the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness.”
My voice broke as I spoke those last words. We fell on our knees and worshipped God.
Behind us, our relatives wondered, “who is this child going to be? God’s hand is clearly with him.”