A Birth Foretold and a Bright Future to Behold.

Luke 1:67-80 occurs just before the birth of Jesus, after the birth of his cousin John the Baptist. Zechariah is holding his newborn son and speaks promises inspired by the Holy Spirit. He answers the question, how can we be sure of Jesus' ability to save us from our sins?

We can trust in Jesus because God says we can. His Word is enough, because His promise will always come true. What He says, He will do.

God's Word is a promise of mercy. (Luke 1:67-71)

The word "prophesy" can mean to preach, proclaim, or tell the future. Zechariah speaks of the future with words inspired by the Holy Spirit.

God's continued relationship with humanity demonstrates His mercy. He visited us with a purpose, to give us the help we need. His promise is abiding. He personally identifies with His people. The blatancy of our failure is overridden by the relentlessness of God's mercy and faithfulness. He provides for us a "horn of salvation." Horns represent power; but God's power also has a counterfeit. We must beware of other things vying for power and attention in our lives. We have a relationship with the ultimate, eternal power before Whom all others will submit.

God's mercy and love are demonstrated by action. He is the one who works our salvation. In theological irony, Jesus was raised up on a cross for our salvation. The King of kings was scorned as He took the punishment for our sin. God elevated His Servant and vindicates His undeserving people. Some enemies are identified by the Bible: physical enemies to the nation of Israel, spiritual opposing forces, and our own sin. Even when they are not identified, God has the ability to deliver us from all enemies.

God offers continued revelation in His Word to nurture our relationship with Him. Luke 1:68 and 72-73 mentions God's covenants with Abraham and David. Zechariah's prophecy also anticipates the New Covenant which would fulfill and replace the Mosaic covenant. All of Scripture points to the need for a new covenant. This will be based on the person and work of Jesus Christ and will never be broken by humans.

God has promised to transform us. (Luke 1:74-75)

God's church is the proof of God's promise to transform hearts. We will not find perfection, but we will find God's transforming grace at work. He transforms our position from weakness and slavery to deliverance from sin. He transforms our affections to "serve Him without fear." The fear of the Lord is not intended to be a cowering terror, but in Old Testament Israel, it became that. Enemies and failures can turn our motivation to serve God into fear. God repeatedly demonstrates His ability to defeat our enemies and sin.

God gives us the ability to worship and live "in holiness and righteousness." This is impossible without a heart transformation.

God's promise reveals the Savior. (Luke 1:76-79)

Zechariah's son would be "the prophet of the Most High." Prophets always pointed to something greater. The angel told Mary her child would be "the Son of the Most High." John the Baptist's task was to remind people that they were in need of the coming One who would forgive sins. Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, and forgiveness of our sins is the reason for His coming. Outside of Christ, we sit in death and darkness.

Zechariah's words help us see the unrivaled glory of our Savior. Christ is the Light and a Hero who sacrifices Himself for His people. He visits us in mercy. One day, His light will shine and never be hidden. His reign will be unchallenged and unending.

Application Points

  • For those who believe, this passage is a reminder to orient our entire life around this babe in the manger. Until He comes again, we are to persevere in obedience and look for His coming.
  • The "horn of salvation" provided for us by God should be the primary power in our lives; but God's power also has counterfeits. What other things are vying for your allegiance?
  • Through Jesus Christ, God has vindicated His people though we do not deserve it. Meditate on His works in your life.
  • What enemies do you have? We all struggle against sin and in spiritual warfare. What kind of grip do enemies have on your life? Rejoice in God's ability to deliver you from all enemies! Our senses can deceive us. Our trials are real, but God's promises are always true.
  • Do you serve God out of duty and obligation or out of devotion and love?
  • Jesus is the reason for the season, and forgiveness of our sins is the reason for His coming. We must all do something about the sin that confronts us. What will you do with the babe in the manger who is the coming King? Will you trust Him for forgiveness and allow Him to transform your heart?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Daniel 7:8 – The "little horn," a counterfeit of God's power.
  • Jeremiah 17:9, Ezekiel 36:26, 2 Corinthians 5:17, verses throughout Romans – God's work to transform hearts.
  • Isaiah 9:2, Isaiah 60:1-2, Revelation 21:23 – The light of Christ.
  • Luke 22:20 – The new covenant that seals God's promise of forever peace.