Summary: The prophetic poems of Christmas take us on a journey from heaven to Israel, and then to the world.
Sermon Note Material (sermon follows)
Chiasmus in Luke 1:68-79
by Ed Vasicek
The four prophetic poems in Luke are not merely random accounts of history (though they are historical), but take us into a direction. In the Magnificat (1:46-55), the theme is that God loves to exalt the humble (like Mary) and humble the exalted; thus, He will provide salvation for his humbled, subjugated nation, Israel. In Zechariah’s prophetic poem, the Messiah era is here, and John the Baptist will prepare the way of the Messiah who will deliver Israel, and, it is implied, others who dwell in darkness. The angelic song (2:14) implies that Jesus is the focus of God’s glory, and that God has a special gift of "peace" for those He favors (possibly a reference to the elect). The last poem, Simeon’s blessing (Luke 2: 29-32) extends the work of the Messiah as a "light to the gentiles," (quoting Isaiah 42:6).
The theme: Jesus fulfills the promises made to Abraham, and those promises extend not only to Israel, but also to all those "living in darkness."
A. Introduction (67)
67His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
B. Redemption (68)
"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
C. The Horn (69)
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
D. Prophets predicting salvation (70a)
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies
E. Deliverance from enemies (70b)
and from the hand of all who hate us—
CENTER: Jesus sent to fulfill God’s promises made to Abraham (72-73)
to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
E’ Deliverance from enemies (74-75)
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him i without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
D’ Prophet declaring salvation (76-78a)
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on b before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of s t salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God,
C’ The Sun (78b)
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
B’ Enlightenment (79)
to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."
A’ Conclusion (80)
And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.
*************** SERMON BELOW ************************
The Traveling Light: From God to Israel to the World
(Luke 1:67-79, 2:14, 2:29-32)
1. Poetry is an interesting genre.
2. Take this "post Christmas" poem:
Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I’d nibbled, the eggnog I’d taste
All the holiday parties had gone to my waist!
Every bit of rich food I now must banish
’Til all the additional pounds I make vanish.
I won’t have a cookie--not even a lick.
My only recourse? A fresh celery stick!
No more hot biscuits, nor corn bread, nor pie,
I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore---
Some say, "Heh, that’s what January’s for."
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all --and to all a good diet!
[edited and altered, source: Steven Simala Grant, Sermon Central]
3. A lot of people do not realize that the Bible is filled with poetry. Hebrew poetry -- and in the case before us the words were spoken in Hebrew, translated into Greek by the NT authors, and then into English -- is based upon meter and parallelism of thought, not rhyme. But the meter is lost in English, so are things like alliteration or plays on words. They exist in the Hebrew.
4. So can how the average layman tell when we are into poetry? Our 20th century translations have the poetic sections "set off" from the margin.
5. Some of these poems are songs; others are prophecies, and sometimes poems are both. Today we are going to look at some original Christmas poems.
Main Idea: The prophetic poems of Christmas take us on a journey from heaven to Israel, and then to the world.
I. The PROGRESSION of the Poems (Luke 1:67-79, 2:14, 2:29-32)
A. Jesus, God’s Gift to ISRAEL (1:67-69) So we start with "to Israel"
Whether they know it or not, the Jewish people are sharing their Messiah with us.