[Luke 1:16] “16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.”
John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3-4, which says, “3 A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. 4 Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth and the rough places, a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will appear, and all humanity together will see it, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
John came, in the ministry of Elijah to make the people’s hearts ready for Christ. He was called the Baptist or the baptizer because through that, the people were renewing their commitment to God.
5 Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.”-Malachi 4:5-6
Jesus always wants to bless His children, but if we are not right with Him, He cannot. So before Jesus comes with a blessing for us, He makes sure, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit to make us right with Him by obeying His Word.
[Luke 1:17] “17 And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”
See verse 16.
Elijah, by the power of God, stopped the rain from falling upon the earth in northern Israel for 3 1/2 years, causing famine. God was punishing His people for worshiping idols and demons. God used Elijah to destroy the prophets of Baal, to bring the people back to the true God. The prophet was sent to provide for a widow in Zarephath and to raise from the dead her son who ended up dying from an illness while he was there.
[Luke 1:18] “18 “How can I know this?” Zechariah asked the angel. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”
Zechariah was the opposite of Mary when the angel came to her to reveal God’s will for her life. Mary had a strong faith and believed the angel’s message, while Zechariah’s faith fluctuated. He should have known about Abraham who was in the same situation and God came through for him by giving him a son in his old age.
[Luke 1:19] “19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news.”
The angel revealed his name to Zechariah as Gabriel, which means “man of God.” Gabriel has a high rank in the angelic realm since he stands in the throne of the Living God. This is seen by the missions he is assigned by God to accomplish like announcing the birth of the Messiah, and John, who will pave the way for the LORD’s arrival.
“Good news” It refers to God’s redemptive plan for mankind through Jesus’ sacrificial death, for the sins of the world, and His resurrection.
[Luke 1:20] “20 Now listen! You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
Zechariah’s lack of faith caused him to be mute for months, showing that God was displeased with him for not believing in His Word through His angel.
When God speaks to us about something that He will accomplish in our lives and a lack of trust in His Word arises in our hearts, instead of the blessing, a punishment will come. Through the punishment, we will learn that God’s Word and His promises can always be trusted so that we may learn not to be faithless.