Like Mary, Zachariah had a long song of praise to God after his speech was restored. Luke 1:76-79 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
The first part of Zachariah’s song, Luke 1:68-75, praised God for sending Messiah, as promised. He speaks of the holiness and righteousness of this Savior to come. In today’s scripture, Luke 1:76-79, Zachariah is praising merciful God for his own son, John, who will have a part in preparing the way for Messiah. John would be a prophet, prepare the world for the arrival of Messiah and give the people knowledge of coming forgiveness and salvation. Zachariah extols God for being merciful and sending a Savior to give light in a dark world, provide guidance and would show us the way of peace. Just as Mary praised God for His mercy to her people Israel, so Zachariah praises God for His tender mercy to all mankind for sending John to lead the way and providing a guiding light towards forgiveness and salvation in Jesus. Here Zachariah calls it the tender mercies of God. Mercy is not giving us what we do deserve which is death for our sins and total separation from Holy God. Tender mercy is mercy filled with love for us. The Message reads, “Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us.” Love, sincere love from the heart, motivated God to send Jesus to save us. John 3:16 says it best, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God loved us so much He sent Jesus to make a way for us to be made right with Him. That is mercy- we did not deserve. Romans 5:8 tells us, “ but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” What a merciful God we have. He loved us and sent Jesus even knowing of our sinfulness and the great cost to His Son to redeem us. That is tender mercy from a loving God!
May your day be filled with His mercy and love towards you. Then give it out like God did by sending Jesus. You will be blessed.
Jesus spoke these words in comfort to the disciples as He was preparing them for His death and departure. Some of the most comforting words Jesus spoke come in John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” Jesus wanted them to know He was leaving but for them not to fear and know He was going to get a place in heaven ready for them. Thomas did not understand and questioned Jesus in verse 5, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus’ answer is profound and complete. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 He went on to tell Thomas and the others how He and the Father were one and if they had seen Him then they also had see God the Father and knew Him to be true.
What did Jesus mean with His I AM statement? I am the way– the way to heaven and eternal life, the way to a relationship with God. I am the truth– He is the truth of God, the gospel. He is the Life-He is the giver of life-both physical and spiritual, the one who brings eternal life through faith in Him, the one who provides fullness of life here and now. The way to God is only through faith in Jesus. Jesus was God and knew that men would doubt, men would seek to earn their way to heaven, that men would claim they knew another way to get to heaven through faith in another person or things. Jesus knew what was coming and His answer leaves not room for those thoughts. He is the only way to God and He knows that way perfectly. He is the truth of God, the Life giver for now and eternity and the pathway to reach full relationship with God is through Him alone. Martin Luther had it right in His 5 Solices- Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone and Glory to God Alone. Our faith in Jesus rests on His Word, His person and His Work on the Cross on our behalf. Thank you Jesus.
Have a blessed day as you ponder the narrowness of the Way to God but also the broadness of it’s extent. Not one is excluded from coming to Him. All can come to Him in faith and will be saved. His arms are wide open to everyone of faith.