A Silence Breaking Speech - Part One, Jesus: The Davidic King, The Horn of Salvation - Advent 2018, Week 2
For generations and generations the people of God had been waiting and watching for the Messiah. They longed to be set free from Roman rule and for God to fulfill His promise of making them a great nation. One of those waiting and watching and praying for God’s salvation was a priest named Zechariah.
In addition to this prayer for national salvation Zechariah had also spent much of his life asking God for the gift of a son. When an angel from God told him that both of these prayers were being answered, his first response was marked by unbelief. The result of his unbelief was the loss of his voice.
The Silence is Broken - A Response of Praise
For ten months Zechariah was kept in silence and during that time all he could do was ponder and try to understand how the message of the angel fit with all he knew of the promises of God. By the time his voice was restored Zechariah new salvation was coming. He was confident in the work that God was doing and he was filled with praise.
In Luke 1:67-79 we have the praise and prophecy that Zechariah spoke when his silence had ended. This is commonly referred to as the Song of Zechariah or the Benedictus (Latin for blessed be).
The Reason for Praise: The Visitation and Salvation of God (1:68)
- Verse 68 serves as the foundation for the rest of Zechariah’s song. In short, the reason for his praise is that God has visited and redeemed His people – the rest of the song explains what this salvation looks like.
- God’s Visitation – As Zechariah considers the fulfillment of God’s promises and the coming of Messiah he describes it as a ‘visit from God.’ This is a phrase that is used later in the song (vs. 78) and also two more times in the Gospel of Luke in reference to Jesus (7:16; 19:44).
- God’s Redemption – When we hear of God’s redemption we immediately think of our salvation from sin, but we must remember Zechariah’s context. While he understands there will be spiritual implications to the coming of Messiah (see 1:76-79) his primary focus is on national redemption – the salvation of Israel from their enemies as God had promised.
The Promises Behind the Praise
Zechariah’s song is filled with references to the promises that God had made to the people of Israel. In order to fully understand the praise of Zechariah, we need to understand the promises of God that were being fulfilled in Jesus.
Salvation through the House of David (1:69-71)
In vv. 69-71 Zechariah says that God will save the nation from their enemies through the house of David. Zechariah knew the details of the covenant that God made with David and now, through Jesus, he sees its fulfillment.
- The Background to God’s Covenant with David
Soon after God delivered the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt they began asking for a king. They wanted someone who would lead them in battle, help them conquer enemies and establish them as the nation that God had promised they would be. In time God granted their request.
- The Content of God’s Covenant with David (2 Samuel 7)
After Saul, David was the second King of Israel. His reign brought stability and growth, but David would not be the greatest king of Israel. God promised David that through his line would come a King who would establish an eternal kingdom.
- The Prophet’s Confirmation of the Davidic Covenant
God’s covenant with David produced great hope, but the years that followed didn’t seem consistent with the promise; the nation was divided and eventually came under Roman rule. Nevertheless the prophets of God continued to reiterate the promises of the Davidic Covenant (Isaiah 11:1–2;Jeremiah 33:14–17; Micah 5:1–5; Psalm 89:1-4; 30-37).
- The Fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant
Generations came and went and it seemed that God may have forgotten His promises, but Zechariah was one of the first to recognize fulfillment. Zechariah praised God as he realized that baby that Mary carried would be born in the line of David and would be the promised King (Luke 1:32-33).
Jesus as the Horn of Salvation
When Zechariah refers to the horn of salvation he is using OT imagery of a strong, horned animal that can defeat any enemy. Zechariah believed the Messiah would come as a king who would defeat all the enemies of the people of God and bring salvation, but he didn’t fully realize the truth of this reality. Jesus came to defeat the greatest enemies, Satan and sin and one day He will return to fully establish His eternal Kingdom (Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 19:11-20).
This is the good news of Christmas, our salvation has come.