Humble Hero


The Voice in the Wilderness

This chapter is based on Luke 1:5-23, 57-80; 3:1-18; Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8.

Christ’s forerunner came from among the faithful in Israel. Zacharias, an aged priest, and his wife Elizabeth were “both righteous before God,” and in their quiet lives the light of faith shone out like a star amid the darkness. This godly pair was given the promise of a son who would “go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.” HH 37.1

Zacharias had gone to Jerusalem to minister for one week in the temple. As he stood before the golden altar in the Holy Place of the sanctuary, suddenly he became aware of an angel of the Lord “standing on the right side of the altar.” For years he had prayed for the coming of the Redeemer. Now these prayers were about to be answered. HH 37.2

The angel greeted him with the joyful assurance: “‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. ... He will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit. ... He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, “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.’ And Zacharias said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.’” HH 37.3

For a moment the aged priest forgot that what God promises, He is able to perform. What a contrast between his unbelief and the faith of Mary! Her answer to the angel’s announcement was, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38. HH 37.4

The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of Abraham’s child and Mary’s, was to teach a great truth: in every believing soul, God’s power will do what human power cannot. Through faith the child of promise was given. Similarly, through faith spiritual life is born, and God enables us to do the works of righteousness. HH 37.5

Five hundred years before, the angel Gabriel had revealed to Daniel the prophetic period that would reach to the coming of Christ. Zacharias knew that the end of this period was near, and this encouraged him to pray for the Messiah’s coming. Now, the very same angel through whom God had given the prophecy had come to announce its fulfillment. HH 37.6