Saturday 24 December 2016

Bible Book:

“to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (v 79)

Luke 1:67-80 Saturday 24 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 13


Yesterday we noted the pattern ofpromise-fulfillment-response in this chapter and saw how, asZechariah was obedient in trusting God, he was enabled to speak andhis first words were the response of praise. Today's passage fillsout more fully that hymn of praise. The Christmas season is full ofangelic song. Zechariah's song acts as a prelude to that heavenlychorus, and gives us space to reflect on what the stories of thebirth of these special children really mean.

As you read through this passage you may note that the songdivides into two parts. Verses 68 to 75 focus on praise for God'spromises and actions for people. This theme of blessing gives thesong its common name 'Benedictus'. God is to be praised for notstaying aloof from people. Rather God has come to them as Saviour,in the line of David.

We see here again that God keeps the promises that lead rightback tothe covenant with Abraham. That covenant promised thatthrough Abraham all the families on the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:16-18). Luke's Gospel and the Bookof Acts will show how the good news of God's gracious faithfulnesswill spread.

Verses 76 to 79 form the second part, which turns to Zechariah'scelebration of his own son's role in God's plan. As previously inthis chapter he understands that John's role is to prepare for andthen give way to Jesus, but his role in God's breaking dawn iscause for celebration.

To Ponder

  • Take time to reflect on some of the words Zechariah uses todescribe his son's future ministry under God … "salvation","forgiveness", "mercy", "dawn", "peace". Let these be yourwatchwords as you prepare for Christmas Day.
  • This chapter has told of Zechariah and Elizabeth's shame andsadness at being childless, Zechariah's questioning and consequentsilence and Mary's pregnancy which could be easily misunderstood.How true, and how helpful, are the words of Leonard Cohen "There's a crack in everything, that's how the lightgets in"?
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