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A HORN OF SALVATION (Zechariah’s Song)

Luke 1:57-1:80
Key Verse: 1:69

Christmas is coming near, and our Christmas worship service is just in one week away. Today, we want to prepare our heart for Christmas worship service through this passage. At the birth of his son John, Zechariah sang a song of praise. But it was not for his newborn son, but for Jesus the coming Messiah. Through his song, Zechariah revealed to us who Jesus us. May God help us to learn about Jesus and what he means to us through his song.

1. They named their son John (57-66)

Look at verse 57 and 58. Finally Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah gave birth to a son. This birth became a great joy to the family and all who heard about the news because the Lord had shown great mercy to this old couple who lived by faith.

On the eight day the boy was circumcised, and the people wanted to name the boy after his father Zechariah. Then Elizabeth spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” It was a surprise to them because there was no one among their relatives who had that name. So they made a sign to his father to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.”

By naming their son John, they obeyed God’s word through the angel and offered their son as well as their family to the will of God. They are truly great people because of their obedience to God. We can do many things in the name of God. But what God honours and recognizes is our obedience to him, and that is what our life of faith is all about. Through their obedience they could be used as the parents of John the Baptist in God’s redemptive history.

Then amazing thing happened. Iimmediately Zechariah’s mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. 9 months of silence training ended. For 9 months he could not communicate with outside world. But it was the time he could meditate on God’s history though deep Bible study and personal prayer. The time of God’s training turned out to be the time of God’s abundant grace and blessings.

2. A horn of salvation (67-80)

Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and made a song of praise to God. This song is called BENEDICTUS because it is the first word of the song translated in Latin. Look at verse 67 and 68. “His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.” Here, “he has come” literally means “he has visited.” After the last prophet Malachi there was no prophet who spoke the word of God for 400 years. For centuries most people languished with the thought that God had withdrawn. The country had fallen into the hands of Rome. But some godly people like Simeon and Anna were waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Zechariah was also one of them. Now he realized that God has finally visited his people through the coming of the Messiah. God visited his people to redeem them. These words remind us of God’s redemption of his people from the cruel bondage of Egypt, called, “Exodus.” After 400 years of slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel were in deep despair due to the unbearable suffering under the power of Pharaoh. So they cried out to God, and God heard their cry and remembered his covenant with Abraham and visited his people. God delivered them from their bondage and redeemed them with an outstretched arm and with great act of judgment. In the same way, God has visited his people and redeemed them through coming Messiah. Nine month earlier Zechariah could not believe his wife would have a child. Now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he was so confident of God’s redeeming work in the coming Messiah that he puts it in the past tense. “God has visited and redeemed!”

Then what would God do to redeem his people? Look at verse 69. “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),” God has raised up a horn of salvation. This is the only place in the New Testament where the Messiah was depicted as the Horn. But in the Old Testament, God was called as a horn of salvation in several places. In Psalm 18:2, David praised God after he saved him from his enemy Saul. He said, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Our God is a horn of salvation because he uses his power to secure and protect his people. This mighty God would raise a horn of salvation in the house of his servant David, according to the prophecies of his holy prophets. Here ‘horn’ is not a musical instrument, but a deadly weapon of wild ox. The horn is a sign of strength and a means of victory. Have you seen a horn of wild ox? Jesus is the horn of salvation because he is a deadly weapon and tremendous power, which God uses to save his people. Our Savior saves us with his powerful horns. Nobody can stand against our powerful Savior. Then from whom does Jesus save us with his mighty power? Look at verse 71. “salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us – “ Then who is our enemy? The people of Israel thought their neighboring countries were their enemies. They were constant threat for their security and safety. Adam might have thought his wife was his enemy because she made him fall by giving him the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. But we learn that behind the woman there was Satan who tempted her to eat the fruit and also gave some to Adam. It is hard to recognize the existence of Satan because of his crafty and deceptive way of working. He never reveals his identity, but disguises himself behind something or somebody. That is why most people are not aware of Stan’s existence and become totally defenseless. But we must know who our enemy is. Otherwise, we are like a soldier who goes to the battle without knowing who his enemy is. His defeat is guaranteed. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” We must be aware of his presence and engage in a spiritual warfare in our daily life in order to win our spiritual battle. In the Book of Revelation, Satan is described as having seven heads and ten horns. With his powerful horns he impales people as a wild ox impales its enemies. Those who are impaled by the horn of Stan become critically wounded and become powerless to do anything.

But there is a good news. Let’s read verse 69 together. “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” Praise be to the Lord! God raised Jesus as a horn of salvation for us. Jesus came to save us from our enemy Satan and rescue us from his hand. How did he do that? With his mighty power of salvation, he crushed Satan’s head and rescued us from his hand. Stan’s power seems great in the world, but his head was already crushed by Jesus when Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead. Now the vestige of his power is remained only in his tail. Image a special Christmas painting this year. It would be one of those big oil canvasses. The scene would be of a distant hill at dawn. The Sun is about to rise behind the hill. In the center of the picture, there is a magnificent wild ox standing with his back seven feet tall. On both side of his head there is a horn curving out and up six feet long and twelve inches thick at the base. He stands there sovereignly and serenely, facing the southern sky with his massive neck slightly lifted and at the end of his right horn, there is a huge lion hanging, critically impaled and dead.

This amazing grace came because of the mercy of our God. Look at verse 72 and 73. “to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, to oath he swore to our father Abraham:” Because of his mercy, God did not condemn sinners, but he remembered his promise to Abraham and sent his own Son to save us from our sins and the horn of Satan.

In God’s great mercy, Jesus became my horn of salvation. I had lived life of groaning due to Satan’s horn. I was a slave of fear and guilt after being impaled by sin of lust. I was afraid of people, and afraid of my life. I was tormented by unknown fear. Once I went to the public cemetery in the middle of night and shout with loud voice in order to overcome fear. But after that I became more fearful. Through fear Satan held me as his slave. But Jesus visited me and began his work of salvation in my life through Bible study. I began to overcome my fear and challenge my life. Jesus began to heal my sick soul with his blood shed on the cross. He broke the chain of sin which made me despair again and again and gave me freedom. Jesus truly saved me as my horn of salvation and restored my life with his mighty power of salvation.

We must see many young men and women who are impaled by the horn of Satan. Some people are impaled by the horn of Satan through internet. Some people are impaled by lustful desires. Some people are impaled by fear due to failure. Some people are impaled by money and power. Eve was impaled by doubt of God’s love. And as a result she ate the forbidden fruit. If we are in such a condition, we must know that we cannot come out of it by ourselves. We must have a desperate need of our salvation through Jesus, our Horn of salvation. No matter how critically we are impaled, Jesus, the Horn of Salvation is able to rescue us and restore our life as we come to him as we are and trust in his salvation. He does not only rescue us but also heal and restore our wounds so that we can grow as beautiful children of God.

Look at verses 74 and 75. So far, we learned whom God rescued us from. Now verse 75 tells us what we are rescued for. God rescued us from the hand of our enemy so that we may serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. Jesus, a horn of salvation, saved us so that we may serve God!

Who is God whom we are serving? He is the Creator God who created the heavens and the earth, and who created each of us in his own image. He is the only God who deserves our wholehearted love and service. He is loving God who loved the world so much and gave his one and only Son as our Savior. There is no greater blessing than serving our Creator God and our loving Father in heaven. We are born to serve God. But in the past, we could not serve God because Satan strongly held us as his slave through fear. We could not serve God because of our corrupted heart and life due to our sins. We could not serve God because of our unrighteousness before God. But through Jesus Christ our sins are washed away and our corrupted heart was restored. Jesus removed unrighteousness from us and clothed us with his own righteousness through his precious blood so that we become righteous in the sight of God. In this way, Jesus enabled us to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness. Now we are blessed to serve God our King in all our days on earth and in eternity in God’s kingdom. “I am happy in the services of the King …”

I thank God for giving us this beautiful and spacious new Bible center. I also thank God for giving each of us a holy desire to serve God all the more in this place. May God bless us to worship God and serve Him, and serve his flock freely in this new place.

Look at verse 76 and 77. “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,” After praising the Messiah, finally he talked about his son John and his mission. John will be called a prophet of the Most High, and will prepare the way for him through the knowledge of salvation. People think salvation comes from political stability and economic prosperity. But true salvation comes through forgiveness of sins. When we are saved from our sins by God’s forgiven through Jesus, we can have true freedom and happiness in our life. We are truly blessed when we become children of God by being born again through forgiveness of our sins and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

At the conclusion of his song, Zechariah talks about the tender mercy of our God. Look at verse 78 and 79. “because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” In his great mercy, God sent the rising sun to those living in darkness and in the shadow of death. When we accept Jesus as our horn of salvation, amazing thing happens in our life. Jesus comes to us from heaven like a rising sun and drives out all darkness from our heart. Despair turns into hope. Our sick soul is healed and restored through the healing ray of his rising sun. Our life become full of meaning and purpose in the truth of his light. The power of death is very strong in this world. But Jesus shines our heart with his life and resurrection so that we have eternal life in God’s kingdom. May God help us to turn our eyes and heart to Jesus, the rising Sun who brings heavenly peace into our hearts at this Christmas. May Jesus our Rising Sun guide us into the path of peace in the coming new year!

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