There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. (John 1:6)

LUKE RELATES THE MIRACULOUS story of John’s birth and the drama of his temple dedication. “They were going to name him after his father Zechariah” (Luke 1:59). “They” were the relatives and neighbors of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the community of faith, and because Zechariah was still muted by the angel, they presumed to speak for him in the culturally consistent manner. Elizabeth, in an exhibition of counter-culturally defiant faith, spoke up: “No! He is to be called John” (v. 60).

“There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” We shouldn’t miss their outright dismissal of the preposterous idea that would break with sacrosanct tradition. They looked immediately to Zechariah to correct the ridiculous idea. Taking the writing tablet, he astonished them with the words, “His name is John.” Zechariah and Elizabeth obeyed God in the face of tremendous cultural peer pressure.

Is God asking something like this of you? Your culture, both inside and outside the walls of the church, can exert tsunami-sized forces upon you that threaten to sweep you away from the sometimes unconventional leading of God’s Spirit. Relatives and friends question what they see as the misguided and even delusional interpretation of God’s direction. The parents of John were unyielding in the face of these pressures and gained the applause of the only One who counts. Will you do the same?

Obey God despite the objections of others.

Bill Beck, with wife Lisa and daughter Katie, enjoys life in the Black Hills of South Dakota.