Zacharias goes on to celebrate the splendid part his son was to play in the great Messianic drama, he was to be Messiah's pioneer in order to give men the true information respecting the Deliverer's work. Israel was mistaken altogether in its conception of the salvation which they really-needed. Godet puts it with great force. "Why," he asks, "was the ministry of the Messiah preceded by that of another Divine messenger? Because the very notion of salvation was falsified in Israel, and had to be corrected before salvation could be realized. A carnal and malignant patriotism had taken possession of the people and their rulers, and the idea of a political deliverance had been substituted for that of a moral salvation. There was need, then, of another person, divinely authorized, to remind the people that perdition consisted not in subjection to the Romans, but in Divine condemnation; and that salvation, therefore, was not temporal emancipation, but forgiveness of sins."
[Excerpt from the Pulpit Commentary]