Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.
Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was rendered mute for a time because of his unbelief. While performing his duties as a priest (it was his turn to burn incense in the sanctuary), he was
approached at the altar by an angel. This angel informed him that he and his wife (Elizabeth) would have a son, and that son would “turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” He
would be a second Elijah. Zechariah doubted this, especially since both he and Elizabeth were “advanced in years.” As a result, the angel took away Zechariah’s ability to speak for a time.
[In the meantime, God was preparing the young girl, Mary, to be the vessel through whom the Savior of the world would be born—Jesus the Christ. Jesus and John were cousins, with John being six months older.]
When Elizabeth conceived, Zechariah—in obedience to the Lord’s angel—pronounced, “His name is John.” This was a profound step of faith for Zechariah. With his newly-loosed tongue, Zechariah began to praise God for the salvation that God was bringing to the world. In his own way, Zechariah recognized that his nephew was the one who was promised. Jesus was the Messiah, and Jesus would bring deliverance.
Today we celebrate this same Jesus who has brought deliverance. He has rescued. He has brought freedom. He has redeemed. He is the one who “guide[s] our feet into the way of peace.” He is the very reason for our being here today. Let us all enjoy this time together with our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.