Monday 24 December 2012

Bible Book:

"And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins." (vv. 76-77)

Luke 1:67-79 Monday 24 December 2012


When Mary celebrated the promise of God to her that she wouldbear the Messiah, she celebrated by singing of how God exalted the humble and castdown the proud. Her song is one of salvation as social wrongsbeing righted, and reminds us of the importance of the poor inGod's salvation. In today's passage we see a contrast, forZechariah, who had literally been made speechless (Luke1:20) since hearing the news of his wife's pregnancy with theirson (to become known as John the Baptist) sings a song ofcelebration at the birth. This song adds to our understanding ofthe nature of salvation - for here Zechariah not only speaks ofexternal wrongs being righted - 'we would be saved from our enemiesand from the hand of all who hate us' - but also of the internalnature of salvation. He speaks of salvation including forgivenessof sins (verse 77), light in the darkness (verses 78-79) and a wayinto peace (verse 79). Although we can see these as making adifference outwardly, yet we also see them being clearly about theinternal life of the believer.

It is also worth noting that what Zechariah sees happening isclearly to be set in the context of the whole of salvation history.He sees the coming of the "mighty saviour" (verse 69) as thedelivery of promised mercy to his ancestors (verse 72) and thecovenant made with Abraham. To give such high description of thisevent is to make absolutely clear the central importance of what hesees happening.

Also fascinating is Zechariah's implied message about Jesus. Hespeaks of his son John being "the prophet of the Most High" andgoing "before the Lord to prepare his ways". Either John sees Jesusas the Lord himself, or, at least being the one which God issending with salvation. Either way, this song elevates ourunderstanding of what is happening in these events - God is comingto earth in Christ.

To Ponder  

  • How do you understand salvation - both its external andinternal nature?
  • Do you feel that light in the darkness is something that youneed just now? Or could help someone else find? What nature mightthis light take?
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