57 “When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbours were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.
66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.”
tradition dictated that sons were given their father’s names or close relatives. Poor Zechariah, still unable to speak, confirms the name of his son to be John. This act of obedience releases his tongue to give God praise. The name given to John was a new thing, God was doing something new. It caused quite a stir in the local community and marked John out as special. The members of the community would have carefully watched as John grew up.