The Time-Line of Christmas – V

December 13, 2013
Luke 1:67-79

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

It is difficult to cover all that Zacharias prophesied upon the birth of his son, John the Baptist, because what he said covers a lot in twelve verses in Luke 1.  But let’s look at some highlights:

•    Luke 1:68, 69, 73 through 75:

    Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people,
    and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David
    …the oath which He swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being
    delivered from the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in
    holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

Zacharias knew that these two births – John the Baptist and, six months later, Jesus Christ – would fulfill the promises God had given to His people Israel over the centuries.  God would deliver them from the oppression and domination of foreign powers – first the Assyrians and Babylon, then Persia, then Greece, and now, in Zacharias day, Rome.  It had been over 700 years since the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and deported them to other countries.  The southern kingdom of Judah lasted another 120 or so years until King Nebuchadnezzar carried them off to Babylon.  Except for a brief time under the leadership of the Maccabees, the proud nationalistic Jews had been under the heel of other nations for centuries – and they hated it!

Not only would God deliver them from oppression, according to passages like Isaiah 11 and 60 through 62, He would usher them into a marvelous time of prosperity and being the dominant kingdom on earth!  Consider this passage from Zechariah 9:9:

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold,
    your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding
    on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.

This prophecy, of course, applies to the Triumphal Entry – when Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  But look at Zechariah, 9:10 through 10:12.  It shows the extent of the kingdom, the dominion of it, and the blessings because of it.  Palm Sunday was only a preview.  The King – Jesus Christ – will come again, and usher in the kingdom in its fulness!

No wonder Zacharias was praising the Lord for the birth of his son, and the pregnancy of Mary!  By the way, don’t confuse Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father with Zachariah, the author of the Old Testament book by that name!

•    Luke 1:76 through 79:

    And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go
    before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of
    salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender
    mercy of our God; with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
    to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide
    our feet into the way of peace.

Yes, Zacharias knew the scripture.  His words reflect the prophecies of Isaiah 9:2; 40:3; Malachi 3:1 and 4:2.  He knew his son would prepare the way for the Messiah’s ministry of redemption.  What he did not see – and the vast majority of the Jews missed it also – was that there would be two advents:  The first to procure salvation from sin and the preparation for subjects of the kingdom; and the second to usher in the kingdom of God.

…the Dayspring from on high…” – an interesting title for our Lord!  Dayspring means “a rising of light,” or sunrise.  Malachi 4:2 tells us, “But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings….

Has “the Sun of Righteousness” risen to shine in your life?  It is not just accepting Him as Savior, but submitting to Jesus as Lord in everything, that He will truly shine as “…the Light of the World…” (John 9:5) through you!  Many “…sit in darkness and the shadow of death…” and have no peace in their lives (Luke 1:79), What are you going to do about it?

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