13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth…Luke 1:13-14
Todays’ prophecy comes to us through a bit of an unusual journey. Zechariah was a priest who was pretty old. He and his wife had always wanted kids but had never been able to have any. Luke 1 tells us that they had been praying for this, and their prayers were going to be answered.
As often happens in the story of Jesus’ birth, this information came to Zechariah through and angel. At the end of the angels instructions, he says this about the baby what would be John the Baptist: “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17)
Luke also tells us that this baby would be full of the Holy Spirit from before He was born. This is significant because when Mary, who has just gotten pregnant with Jesus comes to see Elizabeth to confirm what the angel said to her, baby John leaps for joy in his mother’s stomach.
Later, in his life when he started his ministry John would actually quote from this prophecy from Isaiah:
3 A voice of one calling:Isaiah 40:3
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
In Revelation 11, we learn of two witnesses who will also prophecy and prepare the way for Christ’s return. There is a lot we don’t understand about Christ’s second coming, but that won’t keep him from doing so. And when we see these men preparing the way it will be yet another reminder that God keeps his promises. (Many people think these two men will be Elijah and Moses, but that’s not made clear in the text. And, in my opinion, it’s not important.)
This is important to remember during Advent because we’re not just looking back to Jesus’ birth, we are also looking forward to His return. He came humbly the first time, but next time he will come with Majesty and the whole world will know He is the Lord of all creation.