Waiting on the Promise
We've waited for the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent. We've waited for the Seed of Abraham through which all the nations of the earth would be blessed. We've waited for the Son of Man to come. We've waited for the root of Jesse who would arise and rule over the Gentiles. We've waited for the messenger of the covenant who would come to His temple...we've waited and waited for hundreds of years! We've been a people who have been in bondage to our own flesh and sin since our first father sinned. We've been a stiff-necked and rebellious people! We've sinned against our great, holy, God and King for thousands of years, yet we have hope...we who are still searching for the Christ are still clinging to a promise from God of a new covenant! One where He will write His laws IN our hearts; one where He will put the fear of Himself into our hearts so that we would not turn away from Him any longer. We don't know how this can be or why God, who "by no means clears the guilty" could possibly be just to forgive us and to bless us this way??? My great grandfather told my grandfather that the Christ was coming to accomplish salvation and redemption for His people. My grandfather passed it down to my father, who also was hoping in God and waiting for the Messiah. My father passed this truth down to me, Zacharias. I have been waiting for God to keep His promises. It's been so long. It's been 400 years since we've heard from the Lord. The last prophecy we received was from the book of Malachi where God said He would send a forerunner before the Messiah to prepare His way, to make a people ready for the Christ. It's been so long. BUT GOD...Why did he choose me??? I'm so unworthy! When I was chosen to burn incense before God in the temple, an angel appeared to me...I do have true faith in God and in spiritual things, but this was hard to believe. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I fell to the ground in fear at such a being, but the angel was kind to me and comforted me. And then, this angel told me that I, Zacharias, a nobody, one of thousands of Levites, one of billions of people, was chosen to be the father of the FORERUNNER OF THE MESSIAH! My son, for whom we had begged God for for decades with no answer, was going to be the fulfillment of Malachi 3! My son, was going to prepare the way for INCARNATION OF GOD ALMIGHTY! I believe, help my unbelief! I questioned the angel because of my weak faith. It was so hard to believe. He gave me the gift of silence for 9 months to think while I waited for the fulfillment of the promise. In those 9 months, I prayed and wept and worshiped and asked for faith to believe the promise. But then I saw Elizabeth's belly begin to grow! She was an old woman, but she was pregnant! It was happening Just like God said! Then, Mary came to see us!!! As soon as she walked through the door of our house, MY SON LEAPED!!! MY WIFE PROPHESIED!!! THE CHRIST, THE MESSIAH, the one generations of my family and all of God's people have been waiting for for hundreds of years was IN MY HOUSE inside Mary's womb. MY GOD WAS WITH ME IN MY HOUSE!!!! Who are we that God almighty would choose our family to come into this world by??? The day had come, Elizabeth was in labor. After hours of labor and pain, I heard the cry. I heard the cry of my son John. I heard the cry of the forerunner of the Messiah!!! O Praise God with me!!! We wept and worshiped and prayed and worshiped some more. Eight days later, it was the time for his circumcision and time to give his name. I still couldn't speak at this point. All of our friends and family assumed he would be named after me. They asked Elizabeth and she told them his name was John. This surprised everyone and they all looked at me. I grabbed my tablet and chalk and quickly wrote out in ALL CAPS. HIS...NAME...IS....JOHN!!! At that moment, God granted me my speech! The only thing that was coming out of my mouth with praise to God!!! I litterally could not help myself!!! I was praising God for a healthy child. I was praising God for a healthy wife. I was praising God for my speech back. BUT, OH SO MUCH MORE, I was praising God for His faithfulness to keep His promises from long ago. Our God is trustworthy!!! He keeps His promises! The forerunner has been born! The forerunner of the ONE WHOM WE'VE HOPED IN FOR ALL THESE YEARS!!! The Messiah is coming soon! He will save His people! The hope of the world is on this earth in Mary's womb!!! And at this point, I felt like I was taken over by God...the Holy Spirit came upon me and filled me. My mind filled with power and truth! A fire in my bones and in my mind welled up that I had never experienced to this degree before in my life...and I began to prophesy!!!
Main point summary
Under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit, Zacharias prophesied and worshiped YHWY for sending the Messiah into the world to rescue and redeem His people from death and from sin and from their corrupt nature and from all the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms. God did this to fulfill His covenant with Abraham and to free a people to worship and serve and enjoy Him forever! Zacharias moves his prophetic gaze from heaven down to the face of his beloved newborn son John and speaks a prophetic word over him that John was the forerunner of the Messiah from Malachi 3! John was going to go before Jesus to call a people to repentance and faith in the Messiah who would save us and guide us from hopelessness to hope, from blindness to sight, from delusion to truth, and from death to life!!!
And his father Zacharias a was filled with the Holy Spirit,
At John's birth, after God had restored Zacharias' speech, God filled Him with His Spirit,
and b prophesied, saying:
so that he would prophesy, speaking truth from God about salvation through Christ and about John's role as Jesus' forerunner, saying:
“ a Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
Bless the name of YHWY, the God of Israel,
For He has visited us
because He has come down to us
and accomplished b redemption for His people,
and will accomplish salvation and redemption of all His people, [but it is so certain, that the prophecy comes in past tense ("accomplishED") as if it was already completed]
And has raised up a a horn of salvation for us In the house of David b His servant—
and He will do this by raising up a horn of salvation as prophesied in Psalm 132:17 and Ezekiel 29:21. This "horn" will be a descendant of David -
a As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets b from of old—
Just as He spoke prophetically through David in Psalm 106
1 a Salvation b from our enemies , And from the hand of all who hate us ;
God will rescue His people and deliver them from spiritual enemies and from their bondage to sin, just like He delivered His people from bondage to slavery in Egypt;
a To show mercy toward our fathers,
He will do this as a mercy to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
b And to remember His holy covenant,
and to fulfill the Holy Covenant,
a The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
which is the promises He made to Abraham that from his Seed all the nations of the earth would be bless, and that Abraham would be a father of many nations, and that YHWY would be God to his descendants,
To grant us that we,
and to enable us,
being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
by means of defeating death, and sin, and Satan through the life and death of Jesus,
Might serve Him
to serve Him and obey Him
knowing that there is now no condemnation for those who are IN this Messiah, knowing that God is for us and not against us, knowing that God delights in us because of Jesus!!!
a In holiness
serving Him by the power of the Holy Spirit with Spirit wrought obedience of faith and truly holy lives,
and righteousness before Him all our days.
and serving in righteousness all our lives [the righteousness of true obedience, enabled because Jesus' righteousness was credited to us, allowing reconciliation to God and connecting us to the power of the Spirit, which empowers and compels actual, truly, imperfect, yet obedient lives.]
“And you, child, will be called the a prophet of b the Most High;
And you, my beloved son John, given to me as a miracle of mercy from God, will be called the prophet of YHWY;
For you will go on c before the Lord
because you will go before the Messiah to begin proclaiming the kingdom of God and repentance
to d prepare His ways ;
to prepare a people's hearts for their coming King and for the coming Kingdom, as prophesied in Malachi 3. You are the forerunner, my son!!!
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
You will proclaim repentance and faith in the coming Messiah as the only way to be reconciled to God and be saved
1 By a the forgiveness of their sins,
by means of YHWY forgiving their sins, somehow through this Messiah who you knew prophetically to be the sacrificial lamb who takes away the sins of the world,
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
because of God's amazing grace and TENDER mercy...[Oh Praise God that He is tender and gentle with those who fear Him and call out to Him!]
With which a the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
In the tender mercy of God the Messiah will visit us as prophesied in Malachi 4. He will visit..he will come to us...He will be Immanuel, God with us!!!
a To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death ,
To Israel and even to us GENTILES, a people who walked without any special revelation of God, a people who had no hope of ever finding God or being saved, Jesus has shown His light!!!!
To guide our feet into the b way of peace.”
To guide our feet and our minds and our hearts and our affections to the WAY, the TRUTH, and to the LIFE! To guide us to abide in Jesus, the long awaited Messiah! To take our weary souls to rest in Christ! To look to Him for our righteousness and for our reconciliation with a Holy God!