7585 - Zechariah's Song

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Today we will study the first words of a mute man.

At the end of the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we find Zechariah’s song of praise. We’ve been studying together through Luke.

Let’s read chapter 1, verses 67-80:
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. 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 fathers 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. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, 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." And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

We should keep in mind that Zechariah was a descendant of Aaron and a priest, serving in the Temple.

We have mentioned previously how the doubt and disbelief of this priest, when he received the message regarding his coming son from the angel Gabriel, brought upon him more than nine months of being unable to speak. His communications with his wife Elizabeth and others was by making signs and writing notes.

But his doubt was dispelled and his sin forgiven so that when his son was named after his birth, then Zechariah could again speak.

Immediately after his speech was restored, Zechariah began praising God through the power of the Holy Spirit with a prophetic message.

Zechariah acknowledged that the God of Israel had come to redeem His people.

These words give us a picture of the mind set of the Israelites in that first century. They were under the iron-fist of the Romans. Most of those Israelites missed the message of the suffering redeemer who was to come and die for their sins so as to reconcile Israel to Holy God. They saw the promises of the conquering Messiah, the One who would give victory to Israel over their enemies. This attitude prevailed throughout the life of Jesus.

Make no mistake, the prophecy of the conquering Messiah is clearly a part of Scripture, but it is yet to be fulfilled when Jesus returns.

So Zechariah may not have seen the deep implication of his own prophetic message as he spoke before God and the people.

To be sure the One Zechariah was speaking about was Jesus and He was sent to redeem His people, but the redemption at this time was from sin.

Furthermore, Jesus came to redeem all men from their sins and that is one of the truths that we will find Dr. Luke, a Gentile, repeats many times throughout the Gospel of Luke. To this Zechariah refers when he speaks of the rising sun will come from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death. In these words Gentiles are included for redemption, not a political peace but peace with God for eternity.

With this utterance from Zechariah a host of the ancient prophecies were beginning to be fulfilled.

Zechariah also spoke of his own son as he talked about the prophet of the Most High, who would go before the Lord to prepare the way for him.

The chapter is completed as we are told that this son of Zechariah and Elizabeth grew and became strong in spirit, and that he lived in the desert until beginning his ministry to Israel. John the Baptist had an unusual life, but accomplished the purpose for which he was sent.