“The angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer has been heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God’” (Luke 1:13-16).
Before John was even conceived, great promise and prophecy was spoken over his character and future, spiritual impact. That promise was even hinted at in the name Gabriel instructed Zacharias to give him, John. The name means, “Jehovah is a gracious giver,” coming from the Hebrew, Johanan, which means, “Jehovah has graced.”
Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, couldn’t have chosen a better name for their son. Every parent sees their child as a gift from God, but John was not just a gift to his elderly parents. He was a gift to the nation of Israel and beyond that, to the world.
Zacharias’ son would be a “good boy,” no intoxicating drink would cross his lips. He would be filled with the Holy Spirit before he was even born. Now that’s unusual! And he would be used by God to turn many in Israel back to their God. How would John do that? He would consistently refuse to bask in the spotlight of national prominence and celebrity, and would faithfully point the people of his nation to Jesus. We are all capable of that kind of greatness. How? Direct someone to Jesus today.