May 28

Rev Gav

Light

Luke 1:76-80. One of the greatest metaphors for Christ is as a light in the darkness — the darkness in the world, and the darkness in our own lives.

Luke 1:76-80

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58 And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”

61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:

68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69 He has sent us a mighty Savior
    from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised
    through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies
    and from all who hate us.
72 He has been merciful to our ancestors
    by remembering his sacred covenant—
73 the covenant he swore with an oath
    to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies
    so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
    for as long as we live.

76 “And you, my little son,
    will be called the prophet of the Most High,
    because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
    through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy,
    the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    and to guide us to the path of peace.”

80 John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.

Reflect

Zechariah was singing a song to God, and in the middle of his song, he turned from praising God, to a prophecy about his own son. He spoke directly to the baby, and I can imagine Zechariah scooping him up and holding him in the air as he said these wonderful words. Zechariah was a proud dad and John had not even done anything yet!

In the same way that Zechariah’s inability to speak was a sign of God doing a new thing in the world, John was going to be a living sign that pointed towards Jesus. John’s life’s work was going to be to tell the world that the Messiah had come, and to help people get ready.

Zechariah moved on to declare that his hope and faith was that this ‘anointed one’ or Messiah or Christ, was not only going to liberate the people from their enemies, but from sin and death itself. Jesus was going to be the light in the physical and spiritual darkness of the world.

The Jewish people were oppressed by the Romans and were hoping for liberation, however Zechariah was also pointing out that there was a bigger problem with humanity that needed fixing — and that through king Jesus, the solution would come.

Do

Spend a moment Reflecting on what personal ‘darkness’ you would like God’s light to shine into, and, like Zechariah, hold this situation before God.

Pray

Holy God
Break into the darkest parts of my life.
Shine your light into the pain and shame
that I hide from view.
Lord Jesus, you promise liberation of captives,
so liberate me from my sin and that which binds me.
This day and for ever.
Amen.

Think

Why do you think God planned for John to come first, before Jesus — to prepare a way for him?

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