The Jews were God’s chosen people and worshipped God in the temple at Jerusalem. Special ministers called priests were in charge of the daily activities of the temple.
Zacharias, one of those priests was alone one day burning incense in the temple when Gabriel, an angel of God appeared to him. Seeing an angel was quite a shock to Zacharias, but the message from Gabriel was even a greater shock. He stated that the prayer of Zacharias would be answered and that he and his wife, Elizabeth would become parents of a son. This son was to be special and his name would be John.
John would become known as John the Baptist. According to the prophet Malachi, his mission was to prepare the people for Jesus.
Zacharias wondered how this could happen because he was an old man and Elizabeth was also “advanced in years.” Because of this lack of faith, Gabriel told Zacharias that he would be mute until the child was born.