Again we read about John the Baptist, the prophet who prepares the people of Israel for the coming of Jesus. In today’s passage from Luke’s gospel, Elizabeth gives birth to the son who was promised to Zechariah by the angel Gabriel. When it comes time to give him a name, the presumption is that he will be called Zechariah after his father. Instead, he is given the name John, as Zechariah had been directed by Gabriel. In fact, after writing John’s name on a tablet, Zechariah speaks for the first time since his encounter with the angel.
The sudden return of Zechariah’s voice created quite a stir.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
Why were they afraid? Because something new and unprecedented had happened and the people were unsure of where it would lead. God had entered directly into their lives.
Are we afraid when God enters directly into our lives?