Luke 1:11-15

Luke 1:11 (KJB)
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

The angel which appeared to Zacharias was standing on the right side which was also the south side. (Mark 16:5 KJV) And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. When the women entered the tomb of Jesus after His resurrection, the angel was sitting on the right side. (Gen 48:14 KJV) And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. When Jacob was blessing Ephraim, he it did by placing his right hand upon his head. It seems that the right hand in Scripture is associated with both power and blessing. Zechariah and Elizabeth were about to be blessed with John the Baptist as their son.

Luke 1:12 (KJB)
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

This angel probably manifested himself in the glory of Heaven and that is why Zacharias was quite troubled when he saw him. He also knew that this was a heavenly visitor because no one was allowed to be where he was offering incense. This is why he was overwhelmed with fear when he saw Gabriel.

Luke 1:13 (KJB)
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

The angel then commands Zacharias not to fear because he is bringing him good news. The prayer that he was praying for a son for many years was about to become a reality. Then the angel not only tells him he is going to have a son but he gives him the name of his son. He shall be named John. The name “John” means “The Lord is gracious” or “the gift or mercy of the Lord.” Have you noticed how unbelievers have taken that Scriptural name and applied it to going to the bathroom? Have you ever heard or ever said, “I have to go to the John.” That should stop among Christians because it is a slander against the Lord by means of what the name means. It is quite interesting that Zacharias was one who burned incense in the temple and also had a prayer answered for a son. (Rev 8:4 KJV) And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. Incense is associated with the prayers of the saints in Heaven, in the book of Revelation

Luke 1:14 (KJB)
And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

One of the main reasons that many will rejoice at his birth and have joy and gladness is because they will know that he is the forerunner of the Messiah prophesied by Malachi. (Mal 4:5-6 KJV) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: {6} And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Luke 1:15 (KJB)
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

He shall be great in the sight of the Lord because He has been chosen as the forerunner of the Messiah. (Mat 11:9 KJV) But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. Even Jesus called him more than a prophet because no other prophet had the privilege of presenting the Messiah. As an indication of his total dedication to God and his calling, he will not drink any wine nor strong drink. This means he will not touch any fermented beverage whether it is a weak or strong drink, he will be a total abstainer. This is one of the chief traits of the Nazarites. A Nazarite was one who took the vow to express their separation from the world. He will also be filled with the Holy Ghost even in his mother’s womb. He will be saved in his mother’s womb. His beginning was like that of Jeremiah. (Jer 1:5 KJV) Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.