Beginning in Luke 1, we read about Zacharias, father of John the Baptist (I'm using quite a few surrounding verses for context):

Luke 1:12-15: "Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. 13But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.'"

A bit later in the same chapter of the Book:

Luke 1:59-66: "59And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60But his mother answered and said, 'No indeed; but he shall be called John.' 61And they said to her, 'There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.' 62And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, 'His name is John.'"

Was there some symbolic reason that it was necessary to name the child "John"? Since no one in this family was named similarly, is there something of significance to the name "John" and the role he would play as "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS" (Lk. 3:4)?

  • I've always thought it interesting that Jesus is the 'son of David' and David's best friend is Jonathan. And wondered if that has to do with John's name. Then of course David was next king after Saul and Saul /Paul is shortly after Jesus.
    – user38152
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 12:47
  • יוֹנָה (ionah-yonah-jonah) is the 'Dove' in the Old Testament. To me, that is who may have manifested in the personage of John. Of course, I see more than one Jesus figure in the NT (and multiples of OT figures), so it is easy for me to see a 'Gathering' in NT times of major OT Figures. IO=Isis. Since the 'head of prophecy was cut off", I don't find other True Prophets since then. Just thoughts.
    – tblue
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


Luke 1:13

But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

Ἰωάννην (Iōannēn)
Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's 2491: Of Hebrew origin; Joannes, the name of four Israelites.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon

to whom Jehovah is gracious (others whom Jehovah has graciously given)

The meaning of the name is "Jehovah is gracious". It foreshadows the coming of Jesus.

John 1:17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Is there something of significance to the name "John" and the role he would play as "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS" (Lk. 3:4)?

John cried out for the coming gracious one: Jesus Christ.


The origin of Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Jochanan) is explained as "Grace of Yahwe". This would well fit the story before, as God showed grace to Zacharias (Zekhriah).

The addressee of God speaking in the cited text is anonymous; it is written in the beginning of the Second book of Isajah (40:3-5) which is rather a Psalm book than a Prophet's book.

There is no person called similar to Jochanan mentioned in this chapters (unless we think that the name of the aouthor of the «Second Isajah» was in fact Jochanan, but this would be a speculation that has no base at all).

There is hence no link between the verse cited and the name of John.

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