Thursday, December 22, 2016

ZACHARIAS' SONG: JOHN THE BAPTIST IS BORN, PART 1

Over the centuries, much has been made of the great praise song of Jesus’ earthly mother – Mary (or the Magnificat).  However another song/Poem or praise Psalm which is relevant to not just the Christmas story, but the entire prophetic plan of God is not as “famous” (for lack of a better word).

It is Zacharias' Prophesy or Song from Luke chapter 1, verses 67-79.  To recap Zacharias the Priest’s background, he was the great father of John the Baptist and the husband of Elizabeth. Elizabeth was Mary much older relative, who was past her time of natural child bearing. The Angel Gabriel was sent by God to inform Zacharias that Elizabeth would have a son named John, while he was attending to his priestly duties in the Temple. Because  Zacharias did not believe Gabriel’s words of John the Baptist’s birth, as spoken directly from the Throne of God,  Gabriel rendered him literally speechless. Zacharias remained unable to speak until the appointed time of the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ.

Can you imagine the thoughts going through the priest’s mind, after he was disciplined by God for unbelief, not being able to minister in the Temple?! Here is a man who is supposed to not just do the daily temple duties, but to proclaim Torah, read the prophets and speak of the Messiah, yet when God sent His main angel Gabriel, Zacharias doubted! Before we get too high and mighty and look down on this great man, we should look in the mirror. We should be very careful because we can  not only be doubters like Zacharias when he got the good news, but we have also done the same thing literally dozens and dozens of times.

Zacharias' voice only returned to him after Elizabeth gave birth and he repeated the words of Gabriel, by writing on the tablet “His name is John” (Luke 1:63). This simple action underscored his belief in the words of Gabriel, who was sent directly by God to give him these instructions. Zacharias' ability to speak immediately returned when he showed his obedience to God’s commands. He promptly broke out in effusive praise and worship of the one True God of Heaven.

He said here in part, in Luke 1:67-79:
67             And his father Zacharias' was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Footnotes:

PART 2: WHAT ZACHARIAS' PROPHESY MEANS

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