Luke 1:76-79 (NLT)
“And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.”
Baby John has been born. The promise has been fulfilled. The blessing has been bestowed and Zechariah’s voice returns. It is a glorious time for all! For doubt is replaced with declaration, confusion is exchanged for confidence, and fear is traded for faith!
Zechariah’s proclamation of the goodness of God retells the history of God’s faithfulness throughout the generations; invoking Abraham, David, and the prophets – all these great men of faithfulness leading to the birth of his own son, John (yet to be identified as a baptist).
But he is identified as a gift from God. Not just for the family, but for all the people of Israel. This baby boy, only eight days old, is declared as the prophet of the Most High. What a moniker! What a responsibility! What insight on the part of Zechariah!
This is a benchmark moment for this proud papa.
Sure, Zechariah had nine-months to ruminate on the situation. He had an entire pregnancy to allow the idea to gestate in his own mind. But I have to believe that if left to his own devices, Zechariah would have missed the magnitude of the miracle. He would have allowed the significance of this supernatural to slip right past. Luke 1:67 states that Zechariah was “filled with the Holy Spirit” when he gave this proclamation. Let’s be honest, that always helpful when we are seeking to understand God’s activity in our lives.
I often wonder if these same moments happen in my own life, but I miss them; the obvious activity of God is occurring all around and yet I’m oblivious. The majestic movement of the Holy Spirit is materializing in my presence and yet I’m distracted by my own agenda, my own desires.
Perhaps that is why Zechariah’s announcement is so powerful. We walk around with blinders on, eliminating the peripheral vision where God resides. We stumble in the darkness, when God is trying to shine light on our path. We choose to sit in the darkening. We allow the gloaming to overtake us and the long shadows of nightfall to fill our vision.
Zechariah is correct when he proclaims that it is by God’s tender mercy that we experience revelation, light and life, and Hope for a brighter tomorrow. May we see it more clearly today than ever before!
Dear God of Mercy,
Shine your light where it is darkest.
Give morning light to those who live in gloom.
Reveal your path to those who are lost.
And give us peace, love, joy & Hope.