While Zechariah was rendered mute for his unbelief of the angel’s words, it was at his direction to name the child “John” that his lips were loosed to sing the praises of God. With John’s birth and naming, he begins his work as his father’s heart is turned in repentant faith to recognize what God has begun to accomplish. This preparatory task of Advent and John the Baptist is seen even in his leaping as an unborn child over the presence of the Lord. John is the “new Elijah,” tasked with testifying to the Christ. Thus, we pray that we, too, would receive John’s call to repentance and follow in the Savior’s way of forgiveness and life.
Because of the people’s sin, they forfeited “the land of Israel” during exile, but chapters 40-48 focus on an eschatological restoration. The locale is a “very high mountain,” recalling the descriptions of Sinai (Ex 19:11) or Zion (Is 4:5). The picture here is applied metaphorically and eschatologically to a place suitable for receiving a transcendent vision. Thus, the mount of Transfiguration was “a high mountain” (Mt 17:1; Mk9:2; Lk 9:28), and it was upon “a great and high mountain” that the apostle John was shown the eschatological new Jerusalem (Rev 21:10; see also Is 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-3).
Christian righteousness is the faith that believes that sins are freely forgiven for Christ’s sake. This is what Jesus is about getting for you when He rode into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday. And this is the righteousness He gives to you today and always, as He rides into this little Zion, faithful New Jerusalem. He comes to help, redeem, pardon, and forgive you. He gives His righteousness to you under water, bread, and wine by His Word. He’s just as humble and lowly today as He was in the prophetic vision of Zechariah and its inspired fulfillment seen by Matthew. And in humility, He is just and righteous, forgiving you your sins.