The Prophecy of Zechariah

The months of silence had undoubtedly given Zechariah time to think. It was time to think about the angel’s words, his own life, and what the future would hold for his family and for Israel. His life was redirected by the angel’s visitation. His expectations were now very different. His disappointments about being without a son were completely reoriented. The angel’s message about a miraculous child was glorious, but to be the father of the forerunner of the Messiah was almost beyond comprehension.

When the time neared for his wife Elizabeth to give birth he knew the silence he had endured was coming to an end, but little did he know the power and profundity of his first words to that gathered crowd and to the world. It was all the hand of the Lord. For after the naming of the child John, which surprised all the neighbors gathered for the occasion, the Lord opened his tongue and he spoke words of praise and prophecy concerning the Messiah and his own son as the forerunner.

He spoke first words of praise for the coming Messiah and the salvation he would bring in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Davidic and Abrahamic covenants.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant to us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (Luke 1:68-75)

Then he spoke of his son, John, and the ministry we would have to prepare the people for the appearance of the Lord, the promised Messiah.

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the most high; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercies of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace. (Luke 1:76-80)

John would be the prophet of God most high. He was called to go before the Lord in preparation of his coming. John would be a preacher to give the people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. He did this by preaching and administering a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John was given this ministry because of the tender mercies of God who sent out his Son like a sunrise dawning light and breaking away the darkness that held a grip on the people who were living in the shadow of death. Death being the wages of sin, and its just recompense. This messianic light would guide the feet of his people in the path of peace.

Zechariah spoke those words that day that thundered down through all the ages. His newborn son would grow up to fulfill all that he has spoken of him and the Messiah was born six months later. Following John’s ministry the Messiah taught the people about the kingdom of God, healing them of their diseases and casting out demons from them as a foretaste of that glorious kingdom he was bringing into the world. His last work before returning to heaven was to offer his life as a ransom for many on a Roman cross. There the Father judged sin on his innocent Son as a substitute for guilty sinners. He was buried and on the third day he was raised from the dead offering eternal salvation to those who would come to him in humble repentance and faith.

Zechariah was a humble working priest of the Lord God. He served the Lord and served the people. His life was dedicated to offering sacrifices for God’s people and speaking to them the word of God. But on this day the word of Zechariah was the word of God. He found himself caught up in the movement of God. He was brought along by the ever moving plan of God for the ages. His small part was a pivotal part in God’s work of salvation. Zechariah speaks down through the years to us that we must keep in step with the movement of God as his plan unfolds through our times as it did in Zechariah’s time. It is all for the glory of our great God and Savior.

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