Candle Lighting Ceremony Week 3: The Birth of John the Baptist
Dear family in Christ, as we gather together, let us light this candle as a symbol of the light and truth that comes from God. This flame represents the hope and joy we find in Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
(While lighting the candle) As this candle casts its light, may we remember Jesus’ words in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” May this light inspire us to walk in faith and love.
Lord, thank You for the light of Your love. Help us to carry this light in our hearts and share it with those around us. Guide us in Your truth and love. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 1:57-79 (NIV) – The Birth and Naming of John the Baptist
Luke 1:57-66: 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 circumcise 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.”
They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
Then they made signs 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.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea 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.
Commentary on Luke 1:57-66
In this part of Luke, we see God’s faithfulness in the birth of John the Baptist. Elizabeth and Zechariah, who had waited so long for a child, were blessed not just with a son, but with a child who would play a crucial role in God’s plan. The naming of the child as “John”, which means “The Lord is gracious”, shows God’s grace in their lives. Zechariah’s regained ability to speak upon confirming the child’s name signifies the fulfillment of God’s promises. This event stirred wonder and anticipation among the people, pointing to the extraordinary role John would play in preparing the way for Jesus.
Scripture: Luke 1:57-79 (NIV) – Zechariah’s Prophecy: The Dawn of Salvation
Luke 1:67-79: His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Closing Prayer with Commentary on Luke 1:67-79
Heavenly Father, in the prophecy of Zechariah, we find the heart of Your salvation plan. Zechariah speaks of a horn of salvation – a powerful savior from the lineage of David – and that savior is Jesus. He prophesies about his son, John, preparing the way for Jesus, bringing knowledge of salvation through forgiveness.
Lord, thank You for Your tender mercy, shining on us like the rising sun, bringing light into our darkness. Help us to walk in that light, leading lives of holiness and righteousness. May we, like John, prepare the way for others to know You and experience Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.