These words meant everything.
Zachariah was shaken, overwhelmed with fear when he saw the angel. But Gabriel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zachariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son… He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (Luke 1:13,17)
Many of us know now what the Israelites did not know then. During this time, the Israelites were under the authority of the Roman Government. They were not a free nation. The goal of the Roman government was to suppress and destabilize the nation of Israel, sending it into obscurity. Rome had been responsible for the final destruction of the Temple and the burning down of Jerusalem.
The Israelites believed from the line of David, a Jewish Patriotic King would rise from the downfall of the Jews, lead a revolution to overthrow the Roman rule, establish them as a superpower, and live once again as the chosen people of God. They had been waiting for this King and military leader, praying for him, reading of him in the text, and dreaming of their prominence in the world.
For nearly 500 years, things had been silent, no real movement in a nation that was desperate for freedom.
And then we have this announcement to Zachariah. The angel Gabriel reveals that the Lord Himself is bringing Zachariah into this plan, a plan that would indeed provide the lamb for the sacrifice (see Genesis 22:8). This lamb would not only take away the sin of the world but establish a New Kingdom, which is not of this world and will never be destroyed. Zachariah is told his barren wife, in her old age, never able to conceive, will become pregnant with a son who will turn the Israelites back to the Lord and who will be the voice to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.
Freedom was finally coming!
It wasn’t what the Israelites had in mind, but it was far better, as God’s plans often are.
I don’t want us to miss the weight of this text. Everything eternal is coming!
As we enter the Christmas season, may you think about these words from Gabriel, because to us as disciples these words are everything!
Freedom is coming! In fact, it has already arrived!
This Sunday, December 3, we’ll be singing these songs together. Listen to them throughout the week to prepare your heart for our next gathering!