Previous Verse Next Verse


 Then the angel said to him, “ZACHARIAH,

do not fear, for your request

Go to footnote number

has been heard

Go to footnote number

and your wife ELIZABETH will bear you a son

and you will call his name JOHN.

Go to footnote number


Then the messenger said to him, YOU WHOM THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD REMEMBERS, do not fear, for your request

has been heard and your wife, the one who has BOUND HERSELF TO GIVE ALL ALLEGIANCE TO HER GOD, will bear a son for you and his life will testify that GOD HAS BEEN GRACIOUS.


1: “your request”

I do not consider this the key word for prayer in its deepest sense, rather this word means to supplicate, request or entreat, based on a specific need. I call this asking God for favors. There is nothing wrong with asking God for a favor, but we need to remember that He has not obliged Himself to answer such requests with a “Yes.” When God does answer our requests for a favor it is only because He is a gracious God who delights in blessing our socks off, though we don’t deserve it.

2: “has been heard”

Another way to say this would be, “You whom God has remembered, guess what? God has indeed remembered you!” The implication is this: “Therefore, do not doubt the meaning of your name. The fact that God heard your request is evidence that God is paying attention to you. While it has seemed like God was distant and unconcerned, the opposite has been true, God has remembered you, which means, God has been paying attention to you all along.” These words by the angel are a mild chastisement.

Furthermore, remembering always brought with it a decision to act. Whenever the Bible says that God remembered His people, or a specific person, there was always action that followed. Whenever God asks us to remember something or someone, He expects decisive action to follow. In this case the action God had chosen was explained by the angel in the latter part of the same sentence.


The name John means “God has been gracious.” God answered Zachariah’s request for a son, not because he and his wife were righteous and had bound themselves to obediently follow God, as Elizabeth’s name indicates, but rather because God is a gracious God. There is balance here; Elizabeth was not barren because of anything she had done wrong for she was righteous before God, but neither did they deserve God’s favor; we can never do enough to deserve anything good from God. He shows us His favor and grace because it is in His nature to do so.