Obey, Regardless?


Can you imagine losing your voice for almost a year? That is what happened to Zechariah. From the day an angel appeared to him until the day his newborn son was named, he could not speak. It happened just as the angel of the Lord said it would. Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to a son, and as soon as Zechariah wrote on a tablet that the child’s name was John, his mouth was opened.

  • Think of a time when you did something you felt was important and others opposed you or didn’t understand. What it was like?


57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Why were Elizabeth and Zechariah’s neighbors rejoicing with them (vs. 58)?
  2. What were the neighbor’s objections to naming the baby John (vs. 61)?
  3. Why were the people afraid (vss. 63-65)?
  4. What connection is there between Zechariah writing the name “John” on the tablet and his mouth being opened?
  5. Imagine yourself in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s position; how might you have responded?


When Zechariah and Elizabeth named their son John, it seemed arbitrary to those around them. But they knew what they were supposed to obey God (Luke 1:13). Sometimes obeying God can be extremely difficult, especially in the face of other’s reactions; however, there is no greater cause than obeying God’s will. Jim Elliot said it well: “If the cause is worthy, the cost is irrelevant.”  

  • Talk to God about an area in your life, public or private, in which you need to respond in obedience to him. Ask God for help and strength to obey.
  • Pray about the people in your life who oppose your obedience to God. Ask God for compassion on them and for courage to do the right thing, no matter what.