It is known that Zechariah's wife, Elizabeth was barren, and that they did not have any children (Lk. 1:7). Because of that, the common speculation surrounding Zechariah's story is that he was praying for a child when Gabriel appeared to him.
But because of what he was doing on that day, I find it hard to believe that's what was going on. He was offering incense (Lk. 1:8, 9) as a prescribed offering to the Lord (Ex. 30:7-8). And as we know, the priest's time in duty is not the time to make personal requests for his own life but to "offer gifts and sacrifices for sins...for his own sins [and] for those of the people" (Heb. 5:1, 3).
I reazlize my view is speculation as well, but I think it makes more sense that as Zechariah is serving in the temple in the priestly duty of acting on "behalf of men in relation to God" (Heb. 5:1), that he was not praying about the fact that he had no son.
Certainly he was familiar with the above referenced Scriptures about a Messiah (seed) who would restore God's people once and for all to Himself and set up a kingdom that cannot be destroyed. He confirms his knoweledge of these things in his prayer after his son John is born (Lk. 1:67-79).
In addition to this, it might be worth considering that there may have been some talk going on around Jerusalem about the time of the promised seed being near. We don't know when it was revealed to Simeon; but we know that it was revealed to him that he would not die until the promised seed would appear (Lk. 2:25, 26ff). John could have been very aware of this information as he was praying.
Regardless, his priestly duties were to act on behalf of the people; and I think in relation to that - with all these things considered - it's reasonable to believe he wasn't praying that God would give him a son, but that God would give Israel the promised Redeemer and King.
And then Gabriel appears!
"Your prayer has been heard" (Lk. 1:13).
Not only will God bring about His promised Savior, but Zecharaiah himself will have a son with his wife Elizabeth - and that son will be the Savior's forerunner, going forth in the spirt and power of Elijah (Lk. 1:17).
But now to the point of this brief post.
Israel was promised a King to sit on David's throne. And they received Jesus, who did not ascend to a throne but to a cross. It was there from which He was "high and lifted up" (Jn. 12:32, 33 cf. Isa. 52:13, 14).
Of course, after His sacrificial death, He ascended much higher - even to the right hand of the Majesty on High (Heb. 1:3; cf. Eph. 1:20, 21, 22).
Gabriel promised that Jesus would sit on David's throne (Lk. 1:32, 33). And though I undertand why some interpret this to be a literal-physical throne in literal-physical Jerusalem, it's very interesting that Peter assures us that Jesus is now, in fact, on the throne of David:
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
Jesus was crucifed as the perfect substutional sacrifice for all who trust in Him. But what does it mean to be at the right hand of God? What does it mean to be King of Zion (Ps. 2:6)?
It means what all the Scriptures attest that it means: to be King of Israel is to be King of the World.
We read in Isaiah that the increase of Christ's government (as He reign's on "David's throne") will have no end (Isa. 9:7). If the increase will have no end, it will take over the entire world.
We read in Daniel that when Christ's kingdom is established it will crush all other kingdoms and will itself never be destroyed, standing forever as a lasting kingdom (Dan. 2:44, 45), with all other subsequent earthly kingdoms being mere sub-domains of His one true sovereign reign (Dan. 7:14, 18, 27).
And we read in Psalm 2 that all earthly kings are to bow the knee to the King of heaven and earth - the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah - and submit to His Lordship, of which they are only sub-rulers (Ps. 2:10-12).
All these things are confirmed for us with Gabriel's announcement that the kingdom of Christ will last forever (Lk. 1:33). And when he says Christ will reign over Jacob, what else could he mean than that Christ will reign as the promised King of Israel being the one true King for which they were longing - the one to set up a kingdom that cannot be destroyed and will have the obedience of all other earthly nations (cf. Gen. 49:10)?
Jesus confirms His supreme soverignty in this role as King over all, when he commissions His disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Therefore, disciple the nations (Mt. 28:18-20).
As the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16), who has set up his Kingdom that will not and cannot be destroyed (Dan. 2:44, 45, 7:14, 18, 27), He commissions His church to disciple the world.
He sends us forth in victory, not only in personal salvation and assurance (Rom. 8:28-30), but also, as His church, He promises we will not fail (Mt. 16:18; cf. Mt. 28:20, Eph. 3:20-21).
So as you gather with family around this time of year, consider that Jesus is not simply the King of Israel who will one day come back and forever abolish unrighteousness (though He is that to be sure). But that He works even now through the church to disciple the nations unto Himself, as He is now and forever the King over the entire world.
Joy to the world! Indeed. The Lord is come!
Let the whole earth recieve her King!
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
May God bless His church, as we carry out His commission in the strength He provides.