1:17 power of Elias. Luke 1:17 is paraphrased from Malachi 4:6. John was not Elijah returned to earth, but his message of repentance and reconciliation of the people to the God whom they had largely forsaken was delivered in the same spirit and power shown in Elijah. His wilderness life-style was also reminiscent of the prophet whom God had taken to heaven in the flesh. In no way does the coming of John the Baptist negate the still-in-effect prophecy of Elijah’s future return to the earth (see Matthew 17:11; Revelation 11:3-6) to complete his mission.
1:17 prepared for the Lord. The “people prepared for the Lord” certainly included all (or at least many) of Christ’s twelve disciples (see John 1:35-37; Acts 1:21-22).