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Verse 13

Luke 1:13 . But the angel said, Fear not, &c. Thus encouraging him with great gentleness of aspect and voice. For thy prayer is heard I do not come unto thee with a message of terror, but am sent to assure thee, thy prayer is heard, and thy wife shall bear thee a son “No doubt this good man had often prayed for children; but as he seemed now to have given up all expectations of that kind, it is reasonable to conclude, that these words chiefly relate to his prayers for the deliverance of Israel by the Messiah, whose appearance was then expected by pious persons conversant in the sacred writings, (Luke 2:25; Luke 2:38; Luke 19:11; Luke 23:51;)and the more earnestly desired just at this time, as they suffered so many grievous things by the oppression of the Romans and the tyranny of Herod, which toward the close of his reign grew more and more insupportable.” Doddridge. The priests, it must be observed, in this office, considered themselves as the mouth of the people, and made the welfare of the nation the subject of their prayers. Therefore, since it is reasonable to suppose that Zacharias now interceded for the coming of the Messiah, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed, we may consider the angel’s words as having a reference to such a prayer, thus: “The Messiah, for whose coming thou prayest, is about to be born, for thy wife shall bring forth his forerunner.” We may observe here with pleasure, that the prayers of pious worshippers come up with acceptance before God; to whom no costly perfume is so sweet as the fragrancy of an upright heart. An answer of peace was here returned, when the case seemed to be most helpless. Let us wait patiently for the Lord, and leave to his own wisdom the time and manner wherein he will appear for us. Thou shalt call his name John John signifies, the grace or favour of Jehovah. A name well suiting the person who was afterward so highly in favour with God, and endued with abundance of grace; and who opened a way to the most glorious dispensation of grace in the Messiah’s kingdom.

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