Zechariah’s mouth is opened finally and he has a LOT to say. Actually God has a lot to say through him. Now Zechariah’s whole family has had the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Mary’s song had started out being very personal then moving outward to cover all of Israel. Zechariah’s prophecy is just the opposite. He starts with the big picture and then narrows his focus to his newborn son’s part to play.
I’m assuming this took place right after Zechariah confirmed that baby’s name. I’m wondering if Mary was present for this ceremony. If she was, the Holy Spirit kept her contribution and condition quiet. Did Zechariah know about Mary’s condition?
Israel has been waiting for their Messiah for hundreds of years. Zechariah’s prophecy tells them that He is very near now. Did the people listening interpret Zechariah’s words as an imminent announcement or did they consider what he was saying as a future issue? Did they believe what Zechariah was saying? Of those that “pondered in their hearts” about the events at John’s circumcision ceremony, did they believe what Zechariah was saying? Would they become some of John’s first converts? Or did they follow the rule that Jesus points out later; a prophet is not without honor except in his own hometown?
We don’t get to know a lot about John’s childhood. What we are told is that “he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel” (verse 80). Who was John’s teacher? Who taught him to read? He would need to know how to read to interpret the scrolls. Who gave him his religious instruction? Were they from God or man? What became of his parents? Did they live long enough to see him step into his ministry? Were his parents in the wilderness too?
Father God, thank You for sending out advance warnings. I have to admit though that those warnings are much easier to interpret after they have been fulfilled. So many people today are trying to say what all the prophecy about the end times means and when it is all going to happen. I am in the dark a lot in this area. I am also the skeptic. I don’t jump on the doom and gloom bandwagon well at all. I’ll never jump on the bandwagon that predicts a date/time/place. Only You know where and when. Please give me enough information to keep me holding fast to Your hand and not so much that I think I can figure it out myself. That is actually the point of all prophecy. You are doing a work for us that we can never do for ourselves. Learning to trust Your plan, regardless of where it takes me; wilderness or mountaintop.