The mute priest.
And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.
I am fascinated with wonder as I read this. Note the words that Luke wrote.
All the assembled worshippers were praying outside. They were eagerly awaiting for Zechariah to come out to pronounce his blessings to all the worshippers.
The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
And so the worshippers were greeted with a slowing priest who could not bless.
When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
Now hold your breath.
They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.”
Now you still there?
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.
The minute Zechariah insisted the child’s name be named John instead Zechariah, he spoked the blessings which was reserved for the people from the temple.
It all has to do with the name John. The meaning of John is this.
The Lord is Gracious.
All the silence.
All the drama.
All the withholding.
All the excitement.
All the blessings.
All were unsealed.
To bring forth the voice in the wilderness.
The name of the voice is…
The old was coming to an end.
The new covenant was coming.
There is a new form of blessing from the holiest place. There is a new voice. There is a new covenant.
What a way to open your Gospel.
I fall and worship.