"Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life." Luke 1:68-75 (Read v. 67-79)
In the Song of Zacharias, his Benedictus or words of praise to the LORD God of Israel inspired by the Holy Spirit, Zacharias gives the reason for His song of praise to God: "For He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began. ..."
We, too, can join together in the Benedictus and praise the LORD God of Israel because He came into this world -- He visited His people -- in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who is God Himself in human flesh. In Messiah Jesus, God redeemed His people by taking on human flesh and blood in the virgin Mary, fulfilling all righteousness for us and then bearing on the cross the full and just punishment for the sins of all and rising again from the dead.
Jesus is that horn of salvation raised up for us in the house of God's servant David (cf. 2 Sam. 22:2-4; Ps. 18:1-3; 80:17). Jesus' coming is in fulfillment of God's promises through the prophets since the world began. Jesus is the Seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15), the Seed of Abraham who would bring blessing to all the nations of the world (Gen. 22:18), Shiloh, the rest-bringer (Gen. 49:10), the Son of David and the Root of Jesse who would establish an eternal kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16 and Isa. 11), the Child born of the virgin who is God Himself with us (Isa. 7:14 and 9:6-7), the One who would suffer and die to make atonement for the sins of all people and rise again in triumph (Ps. 22, Ps. 130 and Isa. 53), and that Ruler who be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2-5a).
By His death and resurrection, Jesus delivered us from our old evil foe, the devil or Satan, who has held mankind captive since the fall of Genesis 3. And He will deliver us from all our enemies and bring us safely through this life to himself in heaven (2 Tim. 4:18), where we will "serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life" -- even forever (Luke 1:74,75)!
We also learn from these inspired words (Luke 1:76-79) the mission of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Messiah Jesus: "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
John was to prepare the people for the coming of their Lord and Savior by calling all to repent of their sinful ways and to look in faith to Jesus and His atoning sacrifice as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He was to give his hearers "knowledge of salvation" ... "by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us." John was to point people to Jesus and His cross for pardon and forgiveness.
John was to "give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." He was to shine the light of God's Word into this dark and sinful world and show lost sinners the only way to have peace with God -- through faith in Jesus, God's Son made man, the only way to be made acceptable to God the Father and to dwell in His presence (cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
And that is what we are still called to do today as we await Christ's second coming and His judgment upon this world (cf. Luke 24:46-47).
Has the "Dayspring from on high" risen in your hearts? Have you come to know of the salvation God has provided for you when He sent His only-begotten Son into this world to redeem you and give you life? (Cf. 2 Pet. 1:19; 2 Tim 3:15.)
O gracious and merciful LORD God, our Creator and Redeemer, grant that we join with Zacharias and Your people of all generations in praising You for the salvation You have provided for us in Your Son, Christ Jesus, our Savior. And may we also share this knowledge of salvation with those around us in this dark and dying world. Amen.
[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected]. More of Moll's devotional writings are freely available at https://mercifulsaviorlutheran.net. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]