Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.57When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 61They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 62Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.”
Commentary: The birth and naming of any baby would be a big event, but since there had been so much drama around his conception, the anticipation around this circumcision and baby naming must have been high. What a surprise that this little one was not to be named after his father, since presumably, he would have been the only heir. His father’s name meant “remembered of God” The name Ἰωάννης means “God is a gracious giver”.
To Ponder: What does your name mean to you? Was there dispute over your name at the time of your birth? If you have named children of your own, how did you decide what to name them?