The Old Testament ends with the prophet Malachi’s announcement of the promise of a coming prophet; yet we cannot help but notice the prophet’s final word, curse, ringing and echoing from generation to generation following Malachi, until the coming of the Messiah. For 400 years the Holy Spirit was silent, not unlike the nine months that Zacharias’ tongue was kept silent by God because of his unbelief (Lk 1:20). God broke His silence via the mouth of prophets when He at last loosed the tongue of Zacharias.
As he prophesies about the ultimate mission that would be fulfilled by his son John, Zacharias preaches the very same gospel message that his son would go on to faithfully preach – that it is by repentance and remission of sin that one comes to the knowledge of salvation (Lk 1:77) through the tender mercy of our God (literally in the words of Zacharias – the bowels of God’s mercy, as the word is rendered in Greek). Also just as the true prophet would often do, Zacharias directs us toward the better times to come. The gospel of our salvation not only encourages us to hope that our sin shall be forgiven, but sets up a clear and true light, by which we may order our steps.
The Gospel is made manifest by light, but that light more than just opens our eyes – it directs our paths; it guides us into the way of making peace with God – a peace we cannot know on our own (Rom 3:17). So, awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph 5:14).