Luke 1:68-79

I often wonder what my children will do when they grow up. I imagine my daughter will use her creative imagination to write epic fantasy novels. I imagine my oldest son will use all those hours of assembling Legos to be an architect who designs incredible structures. I’m not sure about the youngest; he is only 3. So far, it seems he might be headed for a career as a stunt man. He flips and falls with a lot of style!

When friends and family asked Zechariah what his miraculous son, John, would do (Luke 1:66), the old priest replied with a prophetic song. His song did not emphasize his son’s future exploits. Instead, Zechariah modeled his son’s mission by celebrating God’s coming salvation through Jesus. Zechariah celebrates the coming Messiah by revealing that through Christ, God would visit and redeem His people, raising a horn of salvation to fulfill Old Testament prophecy.

God Visited His People (Luke 1:68)
Visits take different forms. A visit can imply a brief stop accompanied with idle conversation. Another type of visit is a pastoral visit. Pastoral ministry provides pastors the opportunity to visit members of their congregations in hospitals or nursing homes. Pastoral visits provide more than idle conversation. They allow pastors to encourage parishioners and offer spiritual strength. This is the sense in which Zechariah described Christ’s visit. Christ comes with the intent to look after, care for and help His people. We should praise God for His willingness to enter the world and look after His people.

God Redeemed His People (Luke 1:68)
On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This edict provided freedom for slaves held in the Confederate States. At the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Confederate States were not controlled by the Union army. Therefore, the Proclamation announced a future state of freedom. Similarly, Zechariah’s song announced the redeeming work of Christ that would be carried out on the cross. Zechariah’s prophetic song celebrated the certainty that Christ would redeem His people. We can rejoice with Zechariah, not only in redemption promised, but in redemption provided.

God Raised a Horn for His People (Luke 1:69)
Animals have horns, not for ornamentation and decoration, but for protection from predators. The horns of a buck, bull or rhino aid the animal’s defense. The strength of the animal’s horn determines its vitality; survival depends on these horns. Zechariah extols God’s “horn of salvation,” which rises from David’s house.
Christ, the horn from the Davidic line, offers protection from predators. Christ promises strength for His followers. He will pull them from the clutches of their enemies (Luke 1:70). Here Zechariah foreshadows the exclamation of Paul in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

God Fulfilled His Promises to His People (Luke 1:72-73)
Zechariah reminds us the Messiah fulfills God’s promises from the past. God did not send Christ in order to rectify a mistake. Man’s rebellion did not surprise God. Christ was not God’s last-ditch effort to try to salvage a runaway train. Instead, Christ fulfilled the Abrahamic (Luke 1:73) and Davidic covenants. Christ fulfilled the words of the Old Testament prophets.

God Provided a Forerunner for His People (Luke 1:76-79)
After trumpeting the coming Messiah, Zechariah came back around to the question that prompted his song. His son, John, would serve as a “prophet for the Most High” (Luke 1:76). John would pave the way for Christ by drawing people to repentance for their sins, point toward the salvation in Christ and follow his father’s example of allowing Jesus to ascend to the appropriate place of prominence (John 3:30).

Zechariah, under divine inspiration, celebrated the anticipated arrival of Christ. His song of praise reminds us God has provided the horn of salvation in Christ, the Messiah. May we join his celebration as we acknowledge the redemption we have received.

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