Daily D – Luke 1:76-79
“And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”
LUKE 1:76-79 (NLT)
We had limited rain for about three years. It was quite a dry spell. Lakes and rivers were drying up. One community to the west of us saw their city lake completely disappear.
Then one day it started raining. In two weeks’ time, it had rained so much that every lake, river, and stream, every pond in the fields was full to overflowing.
Read Luke 1 beginning with verse 5. It is a story about an older man, an older woman, an angel, and a baby. Zechariah and Elizabeth were childless. They were likely in their forties. Priests retired at age fifty and became mentors and instructors to their younger proteges.
Couples who are unable to conceive naturally after two decades of marriage are most likely not going to have children. For a couple in a culture that found significant purpose in carrying on their family lines, this was deeply disappointing.
Zechariah was carrying out his priestly duty as part of his rotation when he had an encounter with Gabriel (v. 19). This is the same angel who paid a visit to Mary (1:28) with the news about Jesus.
Zechariah, a man of faith and duty, hesitated.
“How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years,” (verse 18).
Gabriel tells Zechariah in verse 19 that he would be unable to speak until the baby was born due to his doubt.
Three years of drought. Nine months without speaking. Is there a little similarity here?
The skies opened and the words showered down upon everyone when Elizabeth gave birth to John and, eight days later, he was circumcised and named. The man long silent now suddenly spoke. Verses 68-79 are his prophecy from God about John’s special future.
Zechariah had been preparing for this day for months. He had been thinking these thoughts, pondering all Gabriel had said to him. He had leaned into the glory of what this meant.
John would prepare the way for the Messiah. God’s tender mercies would awaken the world to a new day with light from heaven “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace,” (verses 77 and 78).
Those conditions, darkness and the shadow of death, sound a lot like 2020, don’t they? Don’t miss the last line, Zechariah’s famous last words: “and to guide us to the path of peace.”
There is a pathway forward this Christmas. A better day is coming. There is light for our darkening world. May every Christmas light and candle remind you of this truth.
I will follow God’s path of peace into his glorious light.
Our Father, lead us through and out of this season of darkness and death. Lead us into your new day of light and life. Guide us down your path of peace. Amen.
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Zechariah 13:9 “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ ”
Zechariah 9:9, 10 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Ezra 3:12, 13 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
Daniel 2:30 “As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.”