When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise1 the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah,
but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John."2
They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name."
Then they made signs3 to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child.
He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John."4
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak,5 praising God.
The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea6 people were talking about all these things.
Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him.7
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit8 and prophesied:9
"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,10 because he has come and has redeemed his people.11
He has raised up a horn12 of salvation for us in the house of his servant David13
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),14
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us--
to show mercy to our fathers15 and to remember his holy covenant,16
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:17
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him18 without fear19
in holiness and righteousness20 before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet21 of the Most High;22 for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,23
to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,24
because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun25 will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,26 to guide our feet into the path of peace."27
And the child grew and became strong in spirit;28 and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.