“Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his birth, for he shall be great before the Lord. . . . And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, that he may turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare for the Lord a perfect people.” Luke 1:13-17
ZacharyDetailFromLievensVisitation-sm1. The story is the first distinct shadow of the great event that is to come. It is cast first upon the Temple, upon the most sacred spot of the Temple, at the most sacred time, while “all the multitude was praying without at the hour of incense,” on the most sacred person, the priest Zachary, whose lot it then was “to offer incense, going into the Temple of the Lord,” and after the most sacred manner, for “there appeared to him an Angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.” Zachary saw “the Angel, was troubled, and fear fell upon him”; Mary later saw the Angel and “was troubled”; he before the Angel spoke, she after; which helps us to see the difference in their fear.