Luke 1:57 – Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
Luke 1:58 – And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
Luke 1:59 – And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
Luke 1:60 – And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
Luke 1:61 – And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
Luke 1:62 – And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
Luke 1:63 – And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
Hello readers, just a short blog on this Tuesday evening. I am talking about the naming of John the Baptist, and in his naming there are a few precious nuggets of truth that we can take for our own personal lives. There’s some water from the well of this man’s life well worth drawing from! I draw strength from the story of John the Baptist, he was a man born for a tough time. His name was different, and John the Baptist was different, John the Baptist broke the mould in his family. He wasn’t what you were supposed to be, he didn’t walk in the steps you were supposed to walk, he followed the word of God.
When it came to naming him, we read that “they” tried naming him Zacharias. Isn’t that the parents job? Don’t let others define and train and determine what your child is going to be. John’s parents didn’t. It doesn’t matter how well meaning the others were, they didn’t know God’s plan for John, neither had they learned the lessons his parents had learned the hard way through waiting and hoping and trusting and praying many years.
And what were “they” doing trying to name the child? Watch out for the “they”. There is a “they” and it might be family and friends, it may be this world, but “they” are going to try naming you. They think they know what’s best for you. They want you to be who they think you should be. The fact is, as you would know, growing up and even as an adult, there is a pressure to conform, to be like everyone else, to fit in and to be accepted by everyone else. Peer pressure, peer acceptance and peer validation are very powerful factors in life, and things that you will need to overcome by faith to follow Christ. Because of his parents and as he grew in faith, John grew into a man who only cared for validation from God. His parents didn’t let the “they” define his life and we should watch what influence “they” are trying to have on our lives and our children’s lives.
Watch out for the “they”! And if you look at the “they”, it was the neighbors and cousins… friends and family. Did you know the biggest tests and trials in your life will likely come from friends and family. Yeah, even if they are well meaning. The reality is, not many of your friends and family are likely following Jesus Christ or will ever follow Jesus Christ, and you are going to have to take a different name to them, you are going to have to break the mould. They might have been good people, whatever they were, but they didn’t know what was best for John. And the fact is, many people are not walking the narrow way that leads to life. Friends and family are what often keeps people from being saved or following Christ. You cannot let friends and family keep your from being what God wants you to be and do in life.
The pressure to fit in and conform and comply has never been stronger than in our society today. You are supposed to be like everyone else. You are supposed to think like this, believe like this, speak like this, act like this, and do like this. And the pressure is on. People around you are trying to name you. They want you to fit into the bracket that they’re in and everyone else has been in. In trying to name him like others in the family were, they were trying to make John like everyone else had been. But everyone else hadn’t been so crash hot. Don’t be like others, particularly when many others haven’t believed and obeyed God, why would you want to be like them? Don’t you want to go further? Don’t you want to be different to religious mediocrity?
People draw comfort when you’re like them. When you’re not like them, that brings unwelcome conviction. That’s why they want you to conform. They want you to think like them, speak like them and be like them. If they’re not following Christ, they don’t want you to either. If they don’t believe the Bible, they don’t want you to either. If they are not born again, they don’t want you to either. To be a John, you are going to have to break the mould. John was not going to be just another “Zacharias” in his family. He wasn’t just going to continue on with the religious custom and duty. There had been no John in that family before, and maybe it will take you being the first one to be that person that gets saved and believes the Bible and walks in the steps of faith in God’s word. Maybe that person has never been in your lineage before. Noone’s been called that before!
There was nothing wrong with John the Baptist’s parents, in fact they were godly parents. But Zacharias didn’t want his son following in the line of just doing the priestly duty, ticking religious check boxes and just being like everyone else. He didn’t want a son who just performed and then died. He didn’t want a son lost in the corrupt religious system of his day. Zacharias had come way too far for that. Zacharias wasn’t like all the other priests in the corrupt priesthood. And he had a son who broke away from all that garbage.
To follow Jesus Christ, it has to be Christ first. Did you know that? The Lord Jesus Christ taught a tough truth in Luke 14:26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Woah, that’s extreme! It doesn’t matter who or what it is, you must put Christ first. Christ before family and friends. John would only be who he was because he put God’s word before everything and everyone else. There had been noone like that in his family before. Noone called by that name before!
“Not so, but he shall be called John”. You are going to have to be able to say no in life. John the Baptist’s mother did. You are going to have to be able to refuse. What defined Moses is that he refused. You must be able to refuse this world. John’s mum refused, and he refused. Your refusal might just lead to your children’s refusal. You must be able to refuse those trying to influence you into a mould and plan that God does not have for your life. Those family and friends would never be the ones on the banks of Jordan preaching repentance. They didn’t have what it takes, they wouldn’t be the difference makers, because they weren’t different. They were all just “kindred”, not John. They’re a blur in eternity, but you can be a John. But to be so, you must be able to refuse good offers that are not godly offers. You must be able to refuse a name, a status, a position, a title in order to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
There were a lot of people in John’s family who did religion, who did the priesthood, who did the service, who were in the ministry… but John would break that mould. It started with a different name, noone in his family had been called John before. John had two parents who had experienced barrenness, who’d been faithful to God in spite of adversity, and who wanted to make God’s blessing count. They knew the value of the child. They knew the value because they didn’t have one for so very long, they badly wanted a child, they waited and waited and hoped on God. John would be different. Think about what’s different and what nobody else seems to be doing these days. It’s different to believe the Bible is the word of God these days. It’s different to trust what God says over what this world says. To follow Jesus Christ, you are going to have to be different to all those others who are not going to follow, who are not going to trust, who are not going to obey, who are not going to believe, who are not going to make a difference… because there is a lot of those.
They were trying to make him like the rest of them had been. But John wasn’t going to be like them. New name in the family. There has to be a new name in your life. Have you ever had the new name that you get when you are born again? That person has a new name. When you get saved, you have a new life, a new identity, a new purpose, a new mind, a new direction, a new hope, a new home, a new eternity.
“There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name”. Maybe none of your kindred, none of your family and friends are is called by that name of “Bible believer”. There’s not many people who are called by the name of “Bible believer” anymore. There are not many people called by the name of “born again child of God”. There are not many people called by the name of “repented of their sins”. There are not many people called by the name of “forgiven, washed, changed”. There’s not many that go by “that” name. That’s a new name, the name of obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As already mentioned, John’s family hadn’t lacked for religion. But it did lack for “Johns”, it did lack for burning and shining lights, which we all should be. It did lack for turning people to the Lord, which John did do. John was not going to be like the rest of his kindred. And maybe you come from a religious family, maybe you don’t, but whatever the case, you are going to have to break the mould and have that radical new name of being forgiven, saved, washed in the blood of Christ, and having salt and light in this dark world.
John the Baptist was born into a bad time, and so are we. But we are born for such a time as this. You can be different like he was. You can make a difference like he did. I’ve always loved this verse, and you can be this too in Luke 1:16 “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.” John turned people to the Lord, how many people have you turned to the Lord?
So this blog is quite simple. There is pressure on you to be like everyone else, to conform to the “they”, to let the “they” define and mould and make your life. But to follow God, you have to break that mould. You are going to have to be someone different. Even if you are the first one in your family or among your friends to be different. It starts with a new name. Have you got that new name of born again believer in Christ? Don’t reject Christ like they all do. Don’t turn away from the Bible like they all do. Don’t doubt and dispute and disobey God’s word like they all do. You can have a different name to that name. Because for many people, their name is that they deny Christ in word and in deed. Don’t make that your name.
In that family they were all called the same because they all did the same as each other. But John did differently. Where was his church? Out in the wilderness. In the water. No fancy robes, no big titles, no flattering words, no enticing speech, no seeker friendly message. This was a different man with a different name to the rest of his kindred. And it was strange to everyone else. He was strange to them, and so will you be when you come out for Christ. But if you seek Christ’s validation and his name, you won’t care what they think, because all you care about is what God thinks about you. “Not so”… this child is going to be called different, think different, live different and do different. He’s not going the way everyone else has gone in our family and amongst our friends, this child is going to follow the most High God and lead many to repentance and saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)