And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied,Seems as though we only hear of Christ’s birth at Christmas, and I don’t recall much about Zacharias except that he was the first to hear angels tell of the Messiah’s birth, and he was struck mute because of his disbelief. When he could speak again, he was …
saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;Past tense, ‘visited’, ‘redeemed’, ‘raised up.’ The beginning of prophetic fulfillment was under way – salvation for us in the house of David. Zacharias knew through the Holy Spirit that filled him that this was not a new prophecy:
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:This is what God promised:
That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.He was given his son’s special calling:
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;Besides knowing what God had in mind for his son, Zacharias could see what it meant to others:
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:67-79 KJV)Did he see it all? John’s death? Did he see there would be no marriage, no children, no family for John except for those of us who are his brothers and sisters in Christ?
Zacharias most likely thought of being freed from Roman oppression, but knew it would not come soon. Having a baby before him, just given a name, would not lift the burdens faced by his people. More important, as we’ve learned, is “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God;”
So much more important than lifting the burden of any repressive society, any dictator, any government that denies freedom for its people is the knowledge of salvation and the mercy of our God. With this knowledge John proclaimed:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV)
I believe both Zacharias and John knew what they were talking about.