GETTING THE MESSAGE/The gift of Christ

GETTING THE MESSAGE/The gift of Christ


The song of Zechariah we find in Luke 1:67-79 is called “Benedictus,” meaning blessed. It begins with “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel.” When God blesses us, he confers on us something good, or something that works to our good. When we bless God, we declare His greatness or goodness for an attribute or for some benefit He has rendered to us. We bless God for the birth of Jesus.

The first reason Zechariah blesses God is because “he has visited and redeemed his people” (verse 68). He speaks in past tense because the redemption at hand is certain. He is filled with the Holy Spirit, (verse 67) so this is the truth. God has visited or brought redemption to sinners in the person of Jesus Christ. To us a child is born, to us a son is given.

We should bless God for Christ. Redemption is of greater worth than we can ever think or imagine. Redemption implies freedom. As sinners, the law of God condemns us to death in both soul and body. Nothing can free the soul but Christ. It is the most dreadful thing to be under the curse of the law and subject to the judgment of God.

The horn of salvation in verse 69 is Christ the Lord. A horn is symbolic of power, and the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The “house of David” means Jesus is a descendant of David and that the people in His kingdom are His house. Jesus condemned Israel because their house was desolate; it had no true praise to God. But Christ’s house will be filled with those who bless God, such as we see in Zechariah. We should be like Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

Zechariah also blesses God because God keeps all His promises. Zechariah mentions the holy covenant God swore to Abraham to deliver his people from the hand of their enemies. God made this promise several times to Abraham. In Genesis 22, He said to Abraham, “Because you have not withheld your son, your only son, I will multiply your offspring as the stars in the heaven and your offspring shall possess the gates of his enemies.”

This is fulfilled in Christ’s coming. He builds His church, and “the gates of hell shall not prevail over it” (Luke 16:18). Abraham’s offspring are all those who believe in Christ, who live by faith as Abraham did. Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist, told the Jews: “Do not say to yourselves we have Abraham as our father, for I say to you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” No Jew can expect to be accepted by God except by giving evidence of repentance and faith.

The apostle Peter calls Christians living stones. How can a stone be said to be alive? It is by the power of God. From being dead in our trespasses and sins God has made us alive in Christ Jesus. The living stones are built by Christ into His house, made up of believers from all nations as God promised Abraham. This is great reason to bless God, who remembers His promise. If not for Christ, the promised offspring of Abraham, we would be without hope and without God.

Another reason Zechariah blesses God is for His mercy. John the Baptist represents the need we have of God’s mercy. John makes the way for Christ with his message of repentance. A penitent man is under conviction of sin, and humbling himself he seeks the mercy of God. The sick in Jesus’ day couldn’t heal themselves so they sought Jesus as a necessity. So do sinners who believe God is justly displeased with their sin, but also full of mercy.

Zechariah mentions the “tender mercy of our God” (verse 78). Psalm 145 says the Lord is gracious and merciful, full of love. The word for mercy there has the sense of parental affection for a small child. Salvation means the forgiveness of sin (verse 77). Mercy is God’s love and grace to sinners that brings the salvation of forgiveness of sin. We should bless God for it.

You should pause and ask yourself how much you bless the Lord. Do you look forward to the Lord’s Day worship when you render to God His due for the benefits of redemption? Do you pray daily not just for supplication or needs you have, but to bless God? Make a practice of blessing God. Christmas is about blessing God for the gift of Christ. 

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