And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. Luke 1:11-15
As we begin the gospel of Luke, the first event we see is the foretelling of the birth of John the Baptist. This should tells us the importance of John’s appearance and his ministry. The first thing we notice here, is Zechariah was a high priest, therefore John was also from the line of high priest. Often when we think of John the Baptist, we think of a crazy guy wandering the wilderness. But this was not the case, as John the Baptist was not only from the line of high priests, but Jesus called John “The greatest of all prophets” (Matthew 11:11)
John the Baptist was also the fulfillment of prophecy as foretold by Malachi (3:1) and Isaiah (40:1) John was the one who was preparing Israel for the coming of The Messiah by a message of repentance, and he was the one who baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, to signify that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God
An interesting note is John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth, and was great in the sight of The Lord. We can probably assume, John was also taught the scriptures by his father Zechariah since he was a high priest. John the Baptist whole mission in life was to reveal the Messiah to Israel
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. Luke 1:16-19
John the Baptist was also a fulfillment of the coming of Elijah. Jesus confirmed this in Matthew 17:12-13. Many Jews today are still waiting for Elijah to come, but Christ confirmed it is already fulfilled. As the angel Gabriel revealed this messenger was to prepare the way for The Lord, the same as Isaiah foretold about John the Baptist
Notice what the Angel Gabriel says in verse 19, “to bring you this good news (glad tidings) meaning the gospel. Jesus is the gospel message, the salvation for the world, this is the good news!
And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. Luke 1:20-23
However Zechariah didn’t believe the angel Gabriel, and because of his disobedience he would not be able to speak until John the Baptist was born. Zechariah was an old man at this time, and he didn’t see how it was possible for God to fulfill his promise, however as the angel say “With God all things are possible”
I find it interesting the similarity between Abraham and Zechariah, the fulfillment of the Messiah is coming into place. John the Baptist will be the messenger to prepare the way for Jesus, for everyone to come to repentance and receive Christ, Amen!