From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

This Sunday December 16: Advent 3

We’re continuing our Advent series on the songs in Luke 1; this coming Sunday we’re looking at the song of Zechariah:

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.” {Luke 1:67-79 (ESV)}

The entire passage is only two sentences in Greek, which makes it tricky to translate. But it clearly divides into two major sections:

  • verses 67-75 are about God and what He’s done; there is an implicit reference to Jesus (v. 69 “a horn of salvation”)
  • verses 76-79 are about John and what he’s going to do; there’s also an implicit reference to Jesus here also (v.78 “the sunrise shall visit us from on high”)

There’s a lot that can and should be said about Zechariah’s song, but this Sunday I’m going to focus more in Zechariah himself. He’s the instrument which God is playing here (v. 67) but this is no porcelain virgin girl being played. Zechariah is an old guy. He’s been around a long time. I suspect when it comes to Temple politics he’s just about seen it all. He’s also childless, so he’s at the end of his family tree line. An old guy, who gets chosen to be God’s instrument. And that changes him. It gives him a future where there was none, hope where there was none, and a reason to sing about it.

So let’s hear it for the old guy gospel!

See you Sunday.

 

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