Sermons

Summary: A sermon in a series on Luke delaing with our difficulty of breking with tradition when faced with God’s challenge to do so.

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(Luke 1:57-63) When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. {58} Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. {59} On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, {60} but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John." {61} They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name." {62} Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. {63} He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, "His name is John."

What’s in a name? No doubt you’ve heard that statement a few times in your life. Give it some thought however. What is in a name? It may be that a better question is, “is a name really all that important”?

There does seem to be something important about John’s name. Part of the importance is in:

1. The actual name John that means God is a gracious giver.

2. The fact that his parents were naming him in faith.

3. But the most important seems to be this aspect of breaking with tradition.

I know some of you are probably tired of hearing about breaking with traditions but Luke brings it up not me.

(Luke 1:57-63) “When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. {58} Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. {59} On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and”

{59b} “THEY were going to name him after his father Zechariah,”

The questions begs to be asked:

1. Who are THEY? Or at least who do THEY think THEY are?

“Her neighbors and relatives”. Who think they know how things ought to be in this family.

2. What do THEY have to do with naming Elizabeth’s son?

Evidently THEY think quite a lot, but GOD thinks differently.

Luke basically makes a pun on the words of the people.

“the Lord had shown her great mercy” is almost the exact definition of the word JOHN!

{60}”but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John." “

Elizabeth had come to terms with what God was doing and she was not going to mess with even the smallest detail of His plan especially if it means praising God every time she says her son’s name.

{61} “They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name."”

Their concern is with breaking from tradition instead of praising God for what He has done.

Was it not enough that she was barren into old age? Was it not enough that Zechariah had been muted miraculously? Was the fact everybody already believed that he had seen a vision not enough?

Does it not strike anyone else as funny that in the midst of all of these non-traditional things they are all caught up in the traditional naming process?

Aren’t we the same way? It may be more difficult for us to see the providence of God in our midst because it doesn’t come in the form of a child conceived out of due season or a preacher going mute right in the middle of church.


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