Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
"Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and redeemed His people.
He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David,
just as He promised through His holy prophets long ago.
Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us.
He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering His sacred covenant—
the covenant He swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham.
We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear,
in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.
"And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell His people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace."
John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel. (Luke 1:67-80)
The people asked the question, "What will this child be?" Well it is clear that Elizabeth and Zech already knew who he was. Elizabeth made the statement on Mary's arrival.
"Why am I so honoured, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? . . . For He made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever."
What promise is this? The one which runs through the whole of the Old Testament concerning the coming Messiah and one the who will prepare the way for Him; His forerunner.
Do you see now why these two stories are bound together? Why Mary's story and Elizabeth's story are inextricably linked? Why John and Jesus birth are interwoven? They have been interwoven all throughout the Bible. Why should it be any different now?
Zech's prophecy or song is divided into two portions. The first half (68-75) is written poetically in parallel couplets praising God for His deliverance through the Messiah He promised to send. The second part (76-79) describes the place that John will play in this incredible story. Wow no wonder Zech is over the moon. As a priest this event he has been waiting for is finally here and what's more, his son is to play a part in it. Wow. Imagine his regret in the reaction he had when Gabriel first told him the news. His tongue has been locked ever since and now is his moment to speak. His words are telling of the universal significance for a world waiting in darkness. Note the switch in the sections between the usage of the 3rd person to the 2nd person pronoun. This is intensely personal - family. This is OUR story son. You are a part of it. You are the culmination of a long line of prophetic words concerning this coming event. And now You, my little son, will be the one who will usher in Messiah. This is the stuff that dreams are made of and it is happening to us as a family. My little boy, you are going to be at the centre of it all.
Messiah and the one who would go before Him have been inseparable through Scripture. The one who would go before the Messiah must of necessity be always linked to Messiah. Now these two off-spring are being birthed by cousins. Well sort of . . .
No wonder Zech was blown away. You would be too.
This is the stuff that commentators wax eloquent about: analyzing the words used and linking the prophecies from ages past. You can look at what commentators have to say about it if you wish. Or study it for yourself. Take particular note of words like "redeemed / redemption", "mighty Savour", "royal line of David", "covenant", "salvation", "rescued" and more. Yes it does mean all those things. Yes it is all majestic and amazing. But don't forget the family at the centre of all this. This is essentially one family's story told by the eye witnesses through the words of Luke. Don't lose sight of that. Don't lose sight of Zech's euphoria at the things he is experiencing. To think that he as a priest was preaching and talking about this all his life. Trained for all of his priesthood to know and understand and share the Messianic story and now his son is a part of it. WOW and DOUBLE WOW.
Have you got it now? That is the third link in the chain. The significance of the connectedness of those two stories. Told in a very Lukan, family kind of way.
You think the universe is stable? "It is easier for heaven and earth to vanish than for one dot of the Law to become void." John Piper
"If you don't have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?" Jiminy Cricket (from Disney's 'Pinocchio')
The Christ of the galaxies is the Christ of your Mondays. You have a friend in high places. Max Lucado
No "the Coming Messiah" is not pie in the sky by and by; It can be your Monday reality. Ian