“Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

“’Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,                                                                                              He came and set His people free.                                                                                                        He set the power of salvation in the centre of our lives,                                                                  And in the very house of David His servant,                                                                                    Just as He promised long ago                                                                                                            Through the preaching of His holy prophets:                                                                                                                                                  Deliverance from our enemies and from every hateful hand;                                                    Mercy to our fathers,                                                                                                                         As as He remembered to do what he said he’d do,                                                                            What He swore to our father Abraham –                                                                                          A clean rescue from the enemy camp,                                                                                                So we can worship Him without a care in the world,                                                                      Made holy before Him for as long as we live.’” Luke 1:67-75.

Finally, after nine months of silence, Zachariah’s voice was restored. What a difference from the last time he spoke! Skepticism and unbelief were not permitted to escape his lips during the entire duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. God’s will was in the process of being fulfilled and He would not permit foolish and unbelieving words to inhibit His plan.

Those nine months of silence when his thoughts were locked up inside his mind, his only expression so laborious that he was limited to writing his basic wishes, must have been months of slow metamorphosis, like the gradual thickening of Elizabeth’s waistline as the child grew in her womb.

Perhaps his unbelief embraced more than just a pregnancy for his wife. Did he also balk at the idea that this child, whose coming he doubted anyway, would be all that the angel Gabriel prophesied?  Was his child really to be a prophet of the highest rank among all God’s prophets; a forerunner of the Messiah for whom they had waited so long that His coming seemed only like a pipe dream? Could it be that their deliverer could finally be on the doorstep after all these years of longing and waiting?

What was the hope that formed in Zachariah’s mind as his thoughts ran riot in his brain? What did deliverance mean to him? Did he have the same expectation as the disciples of Jesus had? Their expectation of a national and political deliverer shut their minds to a greater deliverance even from Rome, which Jesus could only achieve through His death and resurrection.

Zachariah spoke of salvation. What was this salvation of which he dreamed and spoke with such eloquence when his tongue was finally loosed? Was he longing for a new kind of freedom, when the guilt and power of sin would be removed forever? Did the possibility of deliverance from his own treacherous nature ever cross his mind? Did he see God’s salvation as the process of becoming whole again, restored to fellowship with the God from whom mankind had been estranged since the day Adam chose to go his own way?

Luella Campbell

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