Posts Tagged ‘zechariah’

I don’t have time to blog this morning, but here I am.  My devotional time today landed in Luke 1, (reading through the gospels again).  I never cease to be amazed at the things God reveals in His Word every time you go through it.  New treasures every day.

This morning I was reading the prophetic passage Zechariah spoke after he regained his speech, telling of the work that his son John would do, and also of the coming Messiah.  One passage caught my eye.  (apologies for not formatting – this is straight from e-sword.  Like I say.. short on time! )

Luk 1:68  “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
Luk 1:69  and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
Luk 1:70  as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
Luk 1:71  that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
Luk 1:72  to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
Luk 1:73  the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
Luk 1:74  that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,
Luk 1:75  in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

The italicized part here jumped out at me because it’s not the part of the Abrahamic Covenant you hear referred to often.  The only part of the Covenant to Abraham I can remember (or find) that resembles this statement is the prophecy of Israel being delivered from Egypt.

Gen 15:13  Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.
Gen 15:14  But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

Reading the story of Moses and Pharaoh, God speaks through Moses repeatedly to “Let my people go that they may SERVE ME.”   No one needed an explanation of what that meant because even Pharaoh understands.   He tells Moses mid-way through the ordeal to “go ahead and sacrifice to your God here in the land of Egypt.”  Moses explains that the worship their God demands is an abomination to the Egyptians and they would be stoned.   They must go into the wilderness; man, woman, child, and all their livestock, which is the deliverance story that Passover recounts.

So why would Zechariah refer to this promise of deliverance if it had already been fulfilled with Moses?  Did he see, by revelation from the Holy Spirit (passage here says he was filled with the Spirit) that even this deliverance was not an end in itself, but a foreshadow of a greater one to come?

Zechariah was a priest, who knew the fear of the Lord.  He knew what would happen to him if he had gone in to minister in a wrong manner, as had happened to some before him who had disobeyed.  For him to say that we might serve God, without fear, in holiness and righteousness indicates that a far greater deliverance and holiness was coming than had previously been made available through the Levitical priesthood.

He goes on to speak of the One who was coming:

Luk 1:76  And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

Luk 1:77  to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,

Luk 1:78  because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

Luk 1:79  to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

As one of my friends brought to my attention recently, John the Baptist not only called sin out for what it was so boldly he lost his head for it, he simultaneously offered a radical grace.  At what point in time did anyone preach repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  No temple?  No sacrifice?  Could it really be that simple to just turn to God with your heart and go down into the water?  He proclaimed Jesus as “The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world!”   Yet no one understood a God Man as a Passover lamb.  And what about the rules?  John commanded them to do the same things Jesus did – walk in LOVE, justice and generosity.  No mention of rituals or observances.  Luke says, “With this and many exhortations he preached GOOD NEWS to the people.  Jesus told his followers to preach the GOOD NEWS of the Kingdom to all of Creation.

In Jesus, our Passover Lamb, we have reconciliation with a Holy God.  The most vivid picture of this reconciliation in my mind is the veil shrouding the Most Holy Place in the temple tearing from top to bottom at the moment of His death.  At the time of the second temple, the Ark of the Covenant was already gone, lost in the last exile. (or hidden by Jeremiah as some believe, who ares till searching for it.)  The tearing of the veil revealed two things.  First and foremost, the New and Living Way had been opened through the veil of the tearing of the flesh of Jesus.  Secondly, that the Temple made with hands no longer contained the Covenant, the Presence, or the Mercy Seat.  Israel had already lost this Covenant long before Jesus came to make His in flesh and blood.  Through Jesus we are delivered from our “body of death” to serve Him “without fear in holiness and righteousness all of our days.”  We may come BOLDLY before the Throne of Grace.  What an amazing privilege!!  Have we stopped to consider it or do we rather trample on the blood of  Christ by considering it a common thing, either through living in the lesser shadow, or by ingratitude as we live for the flesh?  I believe we can gain a great deal from understanding the shadow, but only that it continues to validate and glorify Jesus as God, Messiah, Redeemer, fulfillment of all prophecies, parables, and promises.  Jesus did not come to point us back to the shadow but to be the Light.  Walk in the Light.

There is more….    but I’m out of time.


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