Zechariah’s prophecy part 2, Luke 1: 76-80. In these verses of Zechariah’s song of praise to the Lord, he focuses on his own new born son and the place and purpose God has for him..
Luke 1:76-80 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
Here is what scripture tells of Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son just as prophesied: John 1:6-8“ There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” He was known during his ministry as John the baptizer or John the Baptist. Not only did Zechariah give prophesies about John and his mission for God but the ancient prophet Isaiah has also foretold of one coming to pave the way for Jesus hundreds of years before. Matthew 3:1-3 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Mark 1:4 “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Luke 3:2 “ during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
All 4 gospels speak of John and his mission to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. He was to enlighten the Jews as to their sinfulness, like the prophets of old, and point them to Jesus. Zechariah’s prophesy speaks of the condition of the people at that time- living in darkness under the shadow of death. This refers to the bondage of sin that Jesus came to lift and to Him bringing His light of life. John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Not only would Jesus bring the light of life but peace to their souls. In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
How do these prophesies encourage you today? First, they tell me that God had a plan long ago to redeem us from our sins. He planned to send Jesus to bring us life, light, freedom from sin and peace. Next, God is Sovereign. Over that centuries He wove His plan through the people of God, the Jews, through the line of Seth to Abraham to David to Jesus. He brought them over distances far and wide using rulers who believed as well as those who did not. Only God is Sovereign over time, space, people and things. Only God could preserve His people through thousands of years. Lastly, it strikes me that God is love. He loved us so much that He brought His plan to completion by the sending of His one and only Son, Jesus to die for our sins. John 3:16 says God orchestrated all time and space to bring His Son Jesus and just the right time in just the right place for all the right reasons, to save us. Thanks be to God! Praise Him this season for His love, sovereignty and plan of redemption. He did it for you and me!