Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and provided redemption for his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, just as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets in ancient times; salvation from our enemies and from the hand of those who hate us. He has dealt mercifully with our ancestors and remembered his holy covenant — the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant that we, having been rescued from the hand of our enemies, would serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness in his presence all our days.
God was no longer just the God of their fathers, but He had remembered them in fulfillment of His promise to Abraham! Genesis 12:3 promised that, “I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. And they saw a Savior Who would free them from Roman domination as well, when what they were being given in Jesus was so much more!
And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Now his attention is turned to the precious baby before him, his own son, and so much more! There was plenty of time, during all the months of not being able to speak, to search the Scriptures, and confirm beyond a doubt that his son was the forerunner of Messiah! His baby, John, would grow up to be “A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert.” (Is. 40:3) John’s ministry was prophesied in Malachi 3:1:
“See, I am going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way before me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to his temple, the Messenger of the covenant you delight in — see, he is coming,” says the Lord of Armies.”
Of course, Zechariah would also have been familiar with the following verses, which made clear that John’s ministry would not be easy. Did Zechariah guess what John’s earthly end would be – that he would be beheaded for having stood for the truth? (Matt 14:10)
The child grew up and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
Luke 1:67-80 CSB
Being filled with the Holy Spirit from birth, he was of course “strong in spirit”. He was apparently raised in the wilderness, his parents having understood the importance of shielding him from other influences. Prophets preferred the wilderness, since there would be more time and opportunity for focusing entirely on God, and hearing from Him. He would also have the independence to call the political, economic, and religious leaders to repentance.