20th December 2019

Redeemed, Remembered, Rescued, Restored

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us–to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”
Luke 1:68-75 (NIVUK)

In my Bible, this passage is headlined Zechariah’s Song, but whether Zechariah actually sung these words – or just spoke them – is hard to know. The King James Version calls it Zacharias’ Prophecy, but whatever you like to call it, these verses in the first chapter of Luke are prophetic words of praise and thanksgiving directly inspired by the Holy Spirit (verse 67). Zechariah, struck dumb by the angel Gabriel when he refuses to believe he and his wife Elizabeth could have a son in old age, now sees the prophecy come true (verse 57) with the birth of John the Baptist. And on the eighth day a further miracle occurs when his speech and hearing are restored. Overjoyed and Spirit-filled, Zechariah’s words tumble out. Surprisingly, the first section – quoted above – isn’t even about his son; it is all about Jesus. Jesus, to whom around 300 Old Testament scriptures point, has come (verse 70). Notice the past tense in verse 68 – when God promises something it is a done deal!

I’d like to bring out four key points from this passage that, because of Jesus’ coming, apply to not just the nation of Israel, but all peoples:
Redeemed (verse 68). God, in sending his son – God in the flesh – has come to his people, all people, and redeemed us; that is, delivered us from the penalty of sin and pointed us to an eternal relationship with Father, Son and Spirit.
Remembered (verse 72). God, through Jesus, showed that he had remembered his covenant promise to Abraham that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). Interestingly, the name Zechariah means “Yahweh remembers”.
Rescued (verse 74a). Jesus came to rescue us from our enemies. Who are our enemies? They can be physical or spiritual, but without a doubt Jesus can deliver you from them all. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Restored (verse 74b). Jesus came as the horn of our salvation (verse 69), a salvation that enables us to serve without fear. What is this telling us? That we are sanctified for a purpose and that purpose is to serve. Saved to serve, not to sit around.

Zechariah’s song is the embodiment of Advent, the first and second comings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. After nine months of enforced silence, a marvellous outburst of joy, praise and most of all, wonder, spring from his lips as he suddenly realises that God, through Jesus, has accomplished everything he hoped and dreamed for.

Thank you, Father God, for your tender mercy “by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). In Jesus’ name.

Study by Peter Mill

About the Author:
Peter Mill is an Elder and the Missions Developer of the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He and his wife, Jackie, are Pastoral Workers for Grace Communion International in Scotland and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church

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