As a PhD candidate in Christian Origins, I spend a lot of my time in the Bible. What this means is that if you would trust a first year med student to operate on your brain, you will feel comfortable using these for your devotional life. I have translated the texts with two main angles always in mind: God’s Kingdom and Christian Spirituality. I trust you will find these new paraphrases enlightening as you live out God’s counter-intuitive ways on earth as it is in heaven.
And the time came for Elizabeth to have her child. She brought forth a son. And the people that were living near her house and then her relatives heard that the child’s Lord showed great mercy to Elizabeth. They rejoiced with her.
And when the eighth day came, they made the “in God’s people” cut on the child. And they said, “we will call him Zachariah, after his father.”
And his Mother responded, “Not this. He will be called John.”
And they said to her, “There is nobody in your family called John.”
And Zechariah heard them saying, “What should we call him?” And asking for a little tablet, he spoke while he wrote it: “His name is John.”
Everybody was amazed. And he was able to speak again. And before he spoke any more words, he called out praises to God.
And all the neighbors were fearful. And what happened in Zachariah’s family spread throughout the whole mountain of Judea. All those who heard it treasured it in their hearts saying, “Who will this child be? For the hand of the Lord is with him.”
And Zachariah, John’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and holding John he prophesied saying,
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he sheltered us and made a way out of bondage for his people. God lifted the horn of salvation for us from the house of his son David. He made good on the promise of salvation he spoke through the mouth of his timeless prophet. The message was twofold: First, he is making mercy with our fathers. Second, he remembered his Holy covenant. And what is our salvation? It means that we are saved from the hands of our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us.
In the covenant, he swore an oath to our Father Abraham for our day too, to embolden us out of the hands of our enemies, rescuing us for this reason: so that we might dedicate ourselves to worship him and be righteous before him.
And you boy, you will be called a prophet of the most high. For you will serve as a prophet before the Lord in two ways: first, to prepare His way and second to give the knowledge of salvation to his people, which will come through the forgiveness of their sins and from the heartfelt mercies of our God.
And it is from those mercies that the rising dawn of salvation will choose to grace us. It will give light to those sitting in darkness even in the darkness of death. The sun will guide our feet to the path of peace.”
And the child grew and became strong in his spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his making known to Israel.