Zacharias and Elisabeth: Zacharias Praises God

Last week, we witnessed the birth of John the Baptist.  Everyone that was present was filled with fear and wonder at the work of God, even when they did not understand what He was doing.

Zacharias and Elisabeth have named their child John.  With this announcement, Zacharias was finally able to speak.  Upon being able to speak, the first thing Zacharias did was to praise the Lord.

Zacharias began to praise God

Luke 1:67-80 (ASV)
67  And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,

Just as Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary arrived, Zacharias is filled with the spirit as he is able to speak.

“As soon as his tongue was loosed it was employed to praise the Lord. All inspired utterances are called prophesying, but in the present case there was clearly inspired prediction. In the Old Testament spirit the kingdom of Christ in the future is described in general terms.”  {Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament.}

Blessed be the name of the Lord

68  Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; For he hath visited and wrought redemption for his people,

“the hymn gets its name from this word {Blessed}, and is called the Benedictus.”  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

“After some four hundred years of absence the Holy Spirit, as the spirit of prophecy, had again returned to God’s people. Malachi, the last of the prophets, had been dead about four centuries.”  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

The Lord has visited his people after not years or decades, but centuries of being quiet.  Zacharias recognizes that these circumstances are to bring about the redemption of God’s people.

69  And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of his servant David

Zacharias and John

Even now the house of David is still revealed and strong.

The horn {usually of an ox} is a sign of power.  The horn of salvation indicates the saving power of the king.  {see Deut. 33:17, Num 23:22}

70  (As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets that have been from of old),

The prophets of old provided warnings and prophecies of what was to come.

71  Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

“The enemies of man are his sins, his carnal propensities, his lusts, and the great adversary Satan and his angels, who continually seek to destroy him. From these the Messiah came to save us.”  {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

The covenant of the Lord

72  To show mercy towards, our fathers, And to remember his holy covenant;

“To show the mercy promised. The expression in the original is, “To make mercy with our fathers “—that is, to show kindness to our fathers; and the propriety of it is founded on the fact that mercy to children is regarded as kindness to the parent. Blessing the children was blessing the nation; was fulfilling the promises made to the fathers, and showing that he regarded them in mercy.”  {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

The Lord formed his holy covenant first with Abraham and later with Moses and the Israelites.

73  The oath which he spake unto Abraham our father,

Zacharias spoke of the promises of the Lord

“It was an oath in which God swore by himself (because he could swear by no greater, Hebrews 6:13,14) that he would surely bless Abraham and his posterity. That promise was now to be entirely fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah. “  {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

74  To grant unto us that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies Should serve him without fear,

The Lord has promised time and time again to deliver us from our enemies and without fear.  {Psalms and Proverbs are full of these promises.}

75  In holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

“The holiness was not to be merely external, but spiritual, internal, pure, such as God would see and approve.”   {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

“holiness is good conduct toward God, righteousness is good conduct toward men.”   {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

76  Yea and thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High: For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to make ready his ways;

“the rest of the psalm is addressed to the infant John.”   {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

“The Most High” is an epithet in Scripture only of the supreme God.”  {Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament.}

77  To give knowledge of salvation unto his people In the remission of their sins,

“The word remission means pardon or forgiveness. It implies that God will treat the sinner as if he had not committed the sin. The idea here is, that the salvation about to be offered was that which was connected with the pardon of sin. There can be no other. God cannot treat men as his friends unless they come to him by repentance and obtain forgiveness. When that is obtained, which he is always disposed to grant, they can be treated with kindness and mercy.”   {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

John would prepare the way for the Christ and give knowledge of how to come to Salvation and have their sins redeemed.

78  Because of the tender mercy of our God, Whereby the dayspring from on high shall visit us,

“One of the many names for Jesus or his kingdom. The prophets loved to picture Messiah’s advent as a sunrise (Isa 9:2; 60:1-3; Mal 4:2; Matt 4:16; John 1:4-5). Christ’s coming was the dawn of a new day for Israel and for mankind.”  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

79  To shine upon them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death; To guide our feet into the way of peace.

“Travelers in the Judæan mountains often waited patiently for the morning light, lest they should lose their lives by a false step taken in the darkness—Isa 59:8.”   {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.}

“The figure in these verses is taken from travellers, who being overtaken by night know not what to do, and who wait patiently for the morning light, that they may know which way to go. So man wandered. So he became benighted. So he sat in the shadow of death. So he knew not which way to go until the Sun of Righteousness arose, and then the light shone brightly on his way, and the road was open to the promised land of rest—to heaven.”   {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

“This song of Zacharias is exceedingly beautiful. It expresses with elegance the great points of the plan of redemption, and the mercy of God in providing that plan. That mercy is great. It is worthy of praise-of our highest, loftiest songs of thanksgiving; for we were in the shadow of death-sinful, wretched, wandering-and the light arose, the gospel came, and men may rejoice in hope of eternal life.”   {Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament.}

In his song, Zacharias joined the prophecies of the old with the foretelling of what was to come for his son and the Lord’s people.

John the Baptist would pave the way for the Christ and point out the plan of redemption.

Have you been redeemed by the Lord?

 

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