57 When Elizabeth’s son was born, 58 her neighbors and relatives heard how kind the Lord had been to her, and they too were glad.
59 Eight days later they did for the child what the Law of Moses commands.[a] They were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John.”
61 The people argued, “No one in your family has ever been named John.” 62 So they motioned to Zechariah to find out what he wanted to name his son.
63 Zechariah asked for a writing tablet. Then he wrote, “His name is John.” Everyone was amazed. 64 Right away, Zechariah started speaking and praising God.
65 All the neighbors were frightened because of what had happened, and everywhere in the hill country people kept talking about these things. 66 Everyone who heard about this wondered what this child would grow up to be. They knew that the Lord was with him.
Zechariah Praises the Lord
67 The Holy Spirit came upon Zechariah, and he began to speak:
68 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel! He has come to save his people. 69 Our God has given us a mighty Savior[b] from the family of David his servant. 70 Long ago the Lord promised by the words of his holy prophets 71 to save us from our enemies and from everyone who hates us. 72 God said he would be kind to our people and keep his sacred promise. 73 He told our ancestor Abraham 74 that he would rescue us from our enemies. Then we could serve him without fear, 75 by being holy and good as long as we live.
76 You, my son, will be called a prophet of God in heaven above. You will go ahead of the Lord to get everything ready for him. 77 You will tell his people that they can be saved when their sins are forgiven. 78 God’s love and kindness will shine upon us like the sun that rises in the sky.[c] 79 On us who live in the dark shadow of death this light will shine to guide us into a life of peace.
80 As John grew up, God’s Spirit gave him great power. John lived in the desert until the time he was sent to the people of Israel.
1.59what the Law of Moses commands: This refers to circumcision. It is the cutting off of skin from the private part of Jewish boys eight days after birth to show that they belong to the Lord.
1.69a mighty Savior: The Greek text has “a horn of salvation.” In the Scriptures animal horns are often a symbol of great strength.
1.78like the sun that rises in the sky: Or “like the Messiah coming from heaven.”
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