Jesus’ Life: Chapter 1 – The Prophet John The Baptist
Zechariah had been unable to speak for nine months. It was his punishment for questioning God’s message as given by the Angel Gabriel. The Angel told him that his aged and barren wife would give birth to a son. That can’t be possible, he responded!
It’s easy to imagine that Zechariah had a long and difficult nine months while his wife carried their son. But, we can also imagine, he had many moments of great reflection, expectation and joy.
Perhaps, Zechariah had mentally prepared for the day when his ability to speak again would be restored. It didn’t happen immediately after John’s birth. He had to wait another eight days when, as the Angel had instructed, he confirmed that his son must be called John.
The moment was overwhelming for Zechariah and he entered into song; his celebration of thanksgiving to God. His song is generally referred to as The Benedictus. (Jn 1:67-80)
Although the Benedictus, with its Old Testament connections, is not easily understood, it is a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving to God and it also includes a prediction about John’s, life. Zechariah, a talented man, was close to God and was also speaking to Him for you and me!
God, in my own small way, I sing your praises and thank you for every gift that you have granted to me.
Prayer: The Benedictus (Zechariah)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited, and redeemed his people;
and has raised up a mighty salvation for us,
in the house of his servant David;
And thou, Child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Most High,
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
to give knowledge of salvation to his people,
for the remission of their sins,
through the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;
to give light to them that sit in darkness,
and in the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.