Reading the Word
Luke 1:67–79 (ESV)
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 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.”
Understanding the Word
Advent is a time to remember Christ’s first appearance in the world and to look ahead to his return. As we think about the birth of Christ at this time of year, it is a reminder that God keeps his promises. At the birth of John the Baptist, his father rejoiced. Why? Because John the Baptist came into the world as the fulfillment of God’s word found in Malachi 3:1 and Malachi 4:5-6. John was the promised forerunner who was to prepare the way for Jesus Christ.
When Zechariah understood what was taking place, he praised God with the words we read from Luke. His words of praise were because he trusted in God’s promises and now they were being fulfilled. He proclaimed, ““Blessed be 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, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” The Messiah was coming into the world, just as God had said.
As we celebrate Christmas and Jesus Christ’s arrival in the world, let us be encouraged that God keeps his word. Jesus came just as the prophets said he would. He will come again just as God’s word tells us. We celebrate that Jesus came and we look forward to his future return. Praise God!
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