The angel’s displeasure revealed he understood the meaning of the priest’s question. He rose in all his divine authority and gave his awesome name as “Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God.” Not only was he one who stood in that fearsome presence, he had been sent out from that presence to earth’s Holy Place to deliver a history-changing promise to this small, old-spirited man of God.
Gabriel declared the question of Zacharias one of unacceptable doubt, “because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” And so a chastening was announced. Zacharias would be struck silent, unable – even forbidden – to speak such doubt again.
One who dares to question the words of a magnificent angel is one who does not see he has already received the “sign” he demanded. The angel himself being all the “sign” needed and all the assurance God would give. Zacharias spent months in silence. When you cannot hear your own spouting, you begin to hear the Voice you failed to heed.
In those months shut up to God, the priest watched that which he doubted become the miracle he saw growing. Forced to ponder in quiet – something Mary did before she thought or spoke – Zacharias began to comprehend. To “ponder” is shutting out reason to listen with the heart, and that is the place where Light can reveal the mystery.
The prophetic energy arose in Zacharias again and at the birth of the miracle boy, he wrote out the name God gave: John. This obedience to the angel’s word released the chastening, “and at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak, blessing and praising and thanking God” (vs 64, Amplified).
His tongue was meant for worship, not doubt. Zacharias burst forth with exuberant praise and splendid words of prophecy. Knowing now the glorious plan of the God He served, the priest declared that the Messiah had already come…though unborn, He was present in Mary.
Blessed (praised and extolled and thanked) be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and brought deliverance and redemption to His people!
And He has raised up a Horn of salvation (a mighty and valiant Helper, the Author of salvation) for us in the house of David His servant…
Luke 1:69, 70 Amplified
Zacharias, chastened for his unbelief, now believed fully the awesome – even unbelievable – events of the future by that chastening. Fully seeing, and believing, the future of John, the priest prophesied:
And you, little one, shall be called prophet of the Most High, for you shall go on before the face of the Lord to make ready His ways.
To bring and give the knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness and remission of their sins.
Because of and through the heart of tender mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit (us)
To shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace. And the little boy grew and became strong in spirit; and he was in the deserts (wilderness) until the day of his appearing to Israel (the commencement of his public ministry).
And that which Zacharias finally believed and spoke in fresh faith was utterly fulfilled in all its glory and wonder!
Copyright © 2002 Martha Kilpatrick