Summary: There are many beautiful pictures of what the coming of Jesus Christ as Messiah to bring salvation really means.
PICTURES OF THE MEANING OF CHRIST’S COMING Luke 1:57-80
Proposition: There are many beautiful pictures of what the coming of Jesus Christ as Messiah to bring salvation really means.
Objective: My purpose is to help God’s children appreciate a fuller meaning of what Christ’s coming means to them.
Sometimes it is difficult to keep track of all the special days on the calendar. One morning over breakfast, a woman said to her husband, "I’ll bet you don’t know what day this is." "Of course I do," he answered, as if offended, and left for the office. At 10 a.m., a dozen red roses arrived at the house. At 1 p.m., a two-pound box of chocolates was delivered. A designer dress arrived at 3 o’clock. When her husband came home, the woman ran out to meet him, threw her arms around his neck, and said, "I’ve never in my life had a more wonderful Groundhog Day!"
The record of John’s birth is given in a single verse (v. 57), with family and friends sharing in the joy. Then there is a “Family Feud” over what to name the baby on his day of circumcision. Cutting the male foreskin was widely practiced throughout the Middle East to mark the transition from child to man. With the Jews, it was performed when boys were only eight days old as an outward sign they belonged to God and had become members of his chosen people. Older converts were circumcised no matter what their age. The family wanted to call him “Little Zach” but Elizabeth & Zacharias insisted on the name of John. Zacharias even wrote on a tablet (v. 63), “His name is John.” Here we find the song of Zacharias. He speaks of the forerunner’s earthly birth and heavenly mission. “He has visited and redeemed His people” (v. 68) is the major theme of this hymn of praise. The little boy being named (John means “grace of God”) was the forerunner of the Messiah who would bring salvation to lost sinners and one day deliver Israel from all her enemies. God was visiting His people, but they did not know “the time of their visitation” (19:44). In this beautiful song, Zacharias gave several pictures symbolizing the salvation we have in Jesus Christ and describes the mighty acts of God. Zacharias has remained silent for the last nine months. He has had a lot of time to reflect of the ways of the Lord. Whereas before he could not speak, so now he cannot keep silent. He breaks forth into a beautiful song. The song of Zacharias can be divided into two parts, each consisting of one long continuous sentence. Note the following:
Vvs. 68-75 focuses on Praise as Zacharias praises the Lord for having provided salvation for His people.
Vvs,78-79 focuses on Prophecy as Zacharias goes on to describe what the church’s mission and ministry will be.
As was the case with Mary’s song, the song of Zacharias will he filled with quotes of phrases and whole verses from the Old Testament. In fact, each of these two sections will begin with a statement and then refer to the Old Testament Scripture to provide evidence for that statement. Wiersbe says that this hymn gives us four beautiful pictures of what the coming of Jesus Christ to earth really means:
I. PICTURE OF REDEMPTION: The Opening of a Prison Door (v. 68) “He has…redeemed His people”—Praise & adoration belong to God alone. The idea of redemption runs through Scripture, with the Exodus being the great OT example of rescue from enemies and captivity. Luke 24:21 shows the expectation Jesus’ followers had that he would do a similar work of freeing God’s people.
1. Praise “Blessed is the Lord God”—This is a common way of introducing a thanksgiving—The Source of it all. Praise to God for what He had done. Zacharias realized that the birth of his son, John, indicated the imminence of the coming of the Messiah.
2. Practice “for He has visited”(to inspect, to go see, to look out)— The picture is of travelers who have lost their way in the wilderness and are over- taken by night. They grope for the path, but it eludes them. Finally, in despair, they can do nothing but sit down in the darkness, where death from wild beasts lurks in the shadows, and hope for the morning light. They can’t sleep because they are too cold and too afraid. Every time a wolf howls in the darkness, they shudder.
They are in a desperate situation. The common element with each of these metaphors is that those in these desperate straits know that they need God’s deliverance. They know that they’re in bondage and that their enemies are too strong for them. They know that they’re lost in darkness and the shadow of death. If morning doesn’t dawn soon, they will die. He spoke of Christ’s advent as an accomplished fact before it happened. Faith enabled him to say God had already visited and redeemed His people by sending the Redeemer.