Prepare to listen. Light the 2nd purple candle. Be still and pray, Guide my feet today into the way of peace. (From Luke 1:79)
Read: Luke 1:68-79
68Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them. 69He has raised up a mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 72Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. 78By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
The prayer of Zechariah (the father of John the Baptizer) begins with praise for the fulfillment of God’s promise to bring redemption to God’s people—‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.’ Why is God ‘blessed’? It’s not because of what has happened to God, but what God has done for God’s people. God has come to show the mercy promised centuries ago to Abraham and Sarah. Zechariah saw the fulfillment of this promise of mercy in his infant son, John. He looks into his eyes and says, ‘And you, child… you will go.’ With insightful eyes of the heart, Zechariah publicly proclaims that his son’s destiny was to prepare the way for the longed-for Messiah. Zechariah also understood that the primary way God’s promise of redemption would be fulfilled was not in making Israel ‘great again,’ not in putting Israel first, that is, not in a limited national redemption. God’s promise was through the forgiveness of sins of all peoples. Thus, God’s redemption is open to all peoples, every tribe, every tongue, young and old. The ancient promise of blessing is for all nations, indeed, for all creation.
‘You child… you will go.’ Hear these words as if spoken directly to you today. How will you respond?
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Blessed be the Lord God. You have fulfilled your promise and provided full redemption for your world through the forgiveness of sins. Help me today to walk as one of your redeemed children proclaiming in word and deed your forgiveness. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world, to speak for God.