The first person I want to look at is Zechariah. (Luke 1:8-23) Zechariah was an older man. He was a priest and at the time of his meeting with the angel Gabriel his wife was past the child bearing age, and they were childless. Every morning and evening a priest would enter the temple and burn incense on the altar of incense.(Exodus 30:1-8) He would offer incense to the lord and ask forgiveness of Israel’s sins. This was a serious task as not doing it in the correct way would bring about God’s wrath leading to the death of the priest. (Exodus 30:9, Leviticus 10:1-2) At this time in Israel’s history the priest that would offer incense was chosen by lot. All of the priest would meet in a room and a number would be agreed upon by them. They would form a circle and each would put their fingers out upon command. The priest in charge would then go around the circle counting the fingers that a person put out; be it 1, 2, or 3 fingers. The person whose fingers made the number that was agreed upon was the one that was chosen. Tradition only allowed a person to burn incense once in their life, so before they cast lots for incense the priest would call all of those who had never burnt incense to step forward. It was believed that burning the incense brought about riches. Zechariah was chosen this morning. Keep in mind it has been 400 years since God has spoken to Israel. As Zechariah enters the temple an angel appears to him and tells him the impossible is about to happen. His wife Elizabeth is going to have a child, and this child is going to be the forerunner preparing Israel for the Christ to come. Zechariah doubted the angel which led to the angel making him mute until the child john was born. When Zechariah comes out of the temple everyone is wondering why it took so long. Why can Zechariah not speak? He makes signs to tell what the angel said. Just as the angel said Elizabeth becomes with child. Zechariah is mute until the day John is born when he tells them that his newborn son will be named John he gets his voice back.(Luke 1:57-66) So why did Zechariah have to be mute for 9 months? What part was he playing in the Christmas story? God was about to bring all of the Old Testament prophecy’s about the Messiah to fulfillment. He wanted to prepare everyone. By Making Zechariah mute everyone wanted to know what happened. Zechariah was then able to give them a prophecy that seemed impossible plus they were going to be able to see it come true.(Luke 1:67-80) When we stop expecting the supernatural we start missing it when it is right in front of our eyes. Zechariah comes out in front of thousands of worshipers and shows them that God has struck him mute. He explains what the angel has said. So the birth of John and the message that John brings when he begins his ministry was preparing Israel for what God was about to do through Jesus.
-  This information came from John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible ↩