John the Baptist’s birth heralds the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New. Those who were full of speech and of words will become silent. Those Pharisees and Scribes, the teachers of the Law, they will all become silent and mute as the Voice begins to speak. John the Baptist is the Voice, and his birth gives voice to those who who had lost hope. Zechariah’s first word after his long silence is “John.” This name means “Yahweh’s graciousness.” Zechariah’s silence of hopelessness is finally broken when he speaks over his son the grace of God. His tongue is untied only to speak God’s grace into the life of his son. God has commanded him to name his son John, and in doing so He liberates Zechariah from the silence induced by his hopelessness and lack of trust.