And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
The answer to Zacharias’ prayer did not come from Gabriel, it came via Gabriel. Gabriel did not answer his prayer. Gabriel was the messenger to deliver the answer.
The answer to his prayer, and to our prayers, come from God. His servants that inspire fear, are just that, servants. A meeting with the Secretary of Education is impressive, but not as impressive as the President of the United States. An angel is cool, but nothing compared to the One in Whose presence he stands.
God, thank You that we have direct access to You! Thank You that You do not call us servants any more, but friends! You have invited us to draw near to You! Help us to draw near.
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
The angel Gabriel is quoting the prophet Malachi, from the very last verse of the Old Testament.
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
By the way, in Zacharias’ day this wasn’t just the Old Testament, this promise was the last words of God – and about 400 years old.
To modern readers, this is like reading the Mayflower Compact from 400 years ago (the guiding principles of the founders of our country). So much changes in 400 years. But the difference was not just one group of historically significant people contributed this document to our history – the Malachi prophecy was the words of Almighty God!
Zacharias wasn’t just having a baby boy – he was having the foretold messenger that was prophesied 400 years ago.
But that task that John the Baptist began is still not done.
$100,000,000,000. That’s One Hundred Billion Dollars. According to a government research study, that’s the cost of abstenee fathers. We need the hearts of the fathers turned to the children today. Let’s pray that God will continue His work and can use us in His ministry.
And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
Zacharias was old and tired. “Well stricken in years” (Luke 1:7). And now afraid (Luke 1:12). He was scared to death. As if the angelic visit wasn’t enough, trying to raise a newborn boy at an old age?
And to top it off, he would be mute for nine months (Luke 1:20).
Was God punishing Him? No – Zacharias was righteous and blameless (Luke 1:6).
God was blessing Him with joy and gladness (Luke 1:14).
God wants to make you joyful!
The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.