Monday, October 26, 2009

(John the Baptist in the wilderness- Da Vinci)

10/26- LUKE 1:76-80

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Calvin abridged: “And you my child” Zechariah speaks of Christ’s grace through his son who instructed others. “Called” here means to be considered and openly acknowledged as the prophet of God. A secret inner calling had already taken place. Now that calling was to be shown to others. John would turn people by his preaching to hear the Lord. 77 “to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins”- The knowledge of our salvation consists in the forgiveness of our sins. By nature we are ruined and subject to God’s wrath (Eph. 2:3). There is no other way to escape eternal death than by God (2 Cor. 5:19). Righteousness must not be sought in any other place. Proud people want to manufacture a righteousness out of the merits of their good works. But true righteousness is nothing else but the imputation of righteousness, when God, out of free grace, acquits us from guilt. 78- “because of the tender mercy”- This mercy proceeds deep from the innermost part (bowels) of God. Zechariah extols the mercy of God used in dispelling the darkness of death, and restoring to the people of God the light of life. Malcahi calls Christ the “sun of righteousness (Mal. 4:2), meaning that he brings health in his radiance. Isaiah also says, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, have a light shined upon them” (Is. 9:1; 60:2). The people of God sit in darkness when they are surrounded by the law. For the godly of every age, Christ’s coming is a light of hope that cheered and preserved them from death. “To guide our feet in the path of peace”- The highest happiness is found in Christ alone who is the author of blessedness. The illumination of the light of Christ tends to pacify people bringing true and all-sufficient happiness (Is. 60:19). 80- “And the child grew”- John became stronger in the spirit meaning that the uncommon excellence of the child showed the Heavenly Spirit lived in him. John made no advances until the appointed time- but waited on the calling of God.

Thoughts; Zechariah shows he was not only a priest, but a prophet, and the father of a prophet. He was prophesying that his son would be greater than he was, and that the messiah would be greater still. He prophesies that Jesus would be a light, a “sun of righteousness” to the people of God who lived in the shadow of death. God has given us the ability to see the beauty of contrast in light and darkness (I think of the paintings of Thomas Kinkaid- I also think of that great line in “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” (my favorite Christmas song) that says, “Hail the Sun of righteousness. Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings.” When we sang this in my Bible study someone asked, “Is that a mistake?” Did Wesley mean “son” instead of “sun?” The sun is a symbol that points to Jesus just as the cross is also his symbol. Yet we don’t use the “sun” much because too many worship it in different ways in our culture. Light brings guidance, it helps us to see where we are going- eliminating stumbling and worry. Jesus does the same for us.

Prayer: Lord, you are our light and our salvation. Help us to live in your light, and reflect your light to the world around us and even to the ends of the earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment