Zacharias and Gabriel and the Repentance

Long ago in the land of Judea, ruled by a King named Herod, lived a priest named Zacharias with his wife Elizabeth.  God found Zacharias and Elizabeth to be righteous people in his sight.  One day, as Zacharias was performing his priestly duties in the temple, an Angel to the Lord appeared to him, and told him his wife was to become pregnant with child.  While still in the womb, the child would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and his name was to be John.  The Angel announced further;

“And it is he who will go as a forerunner before him in the Spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
– Luke 1:17

In view of their old age, Zacharias didn’t believe this message from God.  The Angel told Zacharias that he was Gabriel, who stands in the very presence of God.  Since he didn’t believe this good news, he wouldn’t be able to speak again until these events happened to pass.  Zacharias had no way of knowing his child was going to someday be called John the Baptist, the one selected by God to prepare the people for Jesus.  Later in his life, John knew this to be true, for he himself prophesied;

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I.  And I am not fit to remove his sandals, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire.”
– Matthew 3:11

The work of John the Baptist is still to go on today.  Just as John had the power to bring people to an awareness of their sins and to repentance, believers have that same opportunity, plus the added opportunity to lead people to Jesus.  Where through Jesus they can find their sins forgiven and consumed by fire, never to be remembered.  This allows the Holy Spirit to cleanse a person, and give him a new power to live a righteous life.  This privilege to lead people to God was delegated to all believers by Jesus, himself, when he said;

“All authority has been given to me in heaven and earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
– Matthew 28:18, 19