Zechariah’s Song Concerning His Son by Pastor Roger Rohde

Zechariah’s Song Concerning His Son

Luke 1:67, 76-79

This morning we look at the second half of Zechariah’s song which speaks of his son.  You may recall that the first half of Zechariah’s song dealt with Jesus.  If you think about that for a moment, that is quite amazing.  Even though Zechariah’s wife experienced a miraculous conception, for she was well beyond the age of child-bearing, yet he started his joyous song not with his son, but with his Savior.  This brings to mind something Jesus said during His earthly ministry: “Anyone who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me”            (Matthew 10:37).  In his song, Zechariah gets everything right by first celebrating the coming of Jesus Christ, and thereafter singing of the gift of his son and the work he was to do.  Today we look at how Zechariah speaks of his son and under the power of the Holy Spirit addresses the significance of John the Baptist’s ministry in our lives.

Zechariah speaks of the fact that his son will be a spokesman for God.

John the Baptist’s ministry was not about speaking the thoughts and ideas of men, but proclaiming the eternal truths God wanted revealed.  What God wanted to accomplish through John the Baptist’s ministry was to prepare the hearts of people for the coming of Jesus Christ.  John the Baptist is referred to in Isaiah chapter 40, when it speaks of “the voice calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.”

These words picture what took place in ancient days when a king was coming to town.  The authorities of the city would order all the roadways the king would travel to be repaired.  All ruts and holes would be filled, and all high spots would be leveled.  Everything was to be ready so that when the king came there would be an easy transition.

In Zechariah’s song, his son, John the Baptist is described as the preparer for the King.  Through the preaching of John the Baptist an easy transition was to occur in the hearts of the people as Christ the King would come on the scene.

For this transition to occur John the Baptist’s preaching was to center on two things.  First, it was to center upon the reality of sin within people’s lives that they might repent from their sinful ways.  One will see no need for a Savior if one believes everything is right with him.  This is reflected in Jesus’ words to the Pharisees when He said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17).

The idea that Jesus poses here is not that some people are righteous and do not need to repent.  Elsewhere in the Scripture the Lord clearly tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).  The point Jesus is making to the Pharisees and to us is that people don’t go to the doctor when they are healthy, and they won’t look to Jesus for salvation, if they are not aware of their sins.

The God-given task John the Baptist had was to declare God’s Law so that people would see their need for a Savior.  Are you aware, my friend, of the sin that is in your life right now?  Have you looked into the mirror of God’s Law and seen the sinful motives of your heart, the sinful words that come from your lips, the sinful attitude of your mind, and the sinful actions of your hands and feet?  “Repent!” was the message John the Baptist proclaimed, “for the kingdom of God is at hand.  Look not unto the sins of others, because that will not bring you any closer to the Great Physician, Jesus Christ.  Reflect on the sins that disease your body and soul, and draw nigh unto the Lord with repentant hearts that He can heal and restore you.

Second, John the Baptist centered his God-given message on the person and work of Jesus.  Zechariah’s song states that his son was to give people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins by talking about the Rising Sun Who would come to us from heaven.  This Rising Sun refers to Jesus, the Light of the world, Who came down from heaven to shine upon us and deliver us from the darkness of sin and death.  We cannot appreciate this Rising Sun unless we recognize the darkness of our sins and the hopelessness of our lives without Christ.

After John the Baptist showed people their sins and called them to repentance, he said unto them concerning Jesus: “Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  John the Baptist had said that he was not worthy to touch Jesus’ sandals.  Yet, this Lamb of God touched our lives when in the prime of His sinless life He died the sinner’s death and poured out His lifeblood on the cross to wash away all our sins.  In Jesus alone there is salvation and eternal life.  Do you daily give thought to what Jesus Christ the Lamb of God did for you and live the new life He gives you to His honor and glory?

A man was tending to a movable railroad bridge over a waterway.  He had opened the bridge so that a large ship could pass.  Now a train was coming and the bridge needed to be closed so that the train could have safe passage over the waterway.  There was only one problem.  The man’s young son was climbing among the gears that needed to be put in motion if the bridge was to be closed.  What was this man to do: Keep the bridge open and spare his son’s life, or close the bridge so that the people on the train could safely pass over the waterway.  Without hesitation the man closed the bridge ending his son’s life so that the people on the train could go safely on their journey.  The greatest tragedy was not that the man’s son died, but that the people on the train knew nothing of the sacrifice that was made to save them.

The second half of Zechariah’s song is about his son, John the Baptist, and how he would make known the sacrifice God gave in saving mankind from their sins.  In this season of Advent, a penitential season in the church year, let us hear the voice of John the Baptist calling for our repentance.  Let us take time, real time, to focus on what sins are in our lives right now that are impeding us from having a closer relationship with Christ and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Repent!  Repent of these sins and look to the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.

 

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