They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old.
One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service.
According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord,
while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burned.
An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar where the incense was burned.
When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid.
But the angel said to him, "Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John.
How glad and happy you will be, and how happy many others will be when he is born!
John will be great in the Lord's sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, 1
and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
He will go ahead of the Lord, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; he will turn disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord's people ready for him." 2