Zechariah's Joy (Luke 1:57-80)

Stephen Walton, Sunday, December 20, 2015
Part of the Advent & Christmas series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

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Luke 1:57-80, NLT

The Birth of John the Baptist

57When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.

59When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”

61“What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

65Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:

68“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,

because he has visited and redeemed his people.

69He has sent us a mighty Savior*1:69 Greek has raised up a horn of salvation for us.

from the royal line of his servant David,

70just as he promised

through his holy prophets long ago.

71Now we will be saved from our enemies

and from all who hate us.

72He has been merciful to our ancestors

by remembering his sacred covenant—

73the covenant he swore with an oath

to our ancestor Abraham.

74We have been rescued from our enemies

so we can serve God without fear,

75in holiness and righteousness

for as long as we live.

76“And you, my little son,

will be called the prophet of the Most High,

because you will prepare the way for the Lord.

77You will tell his people how to find salvation

through forgiveness of their sins.

78Because of God’s tender mercy,

the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,*1:78 Or the Morning Light from Heaven is about to visit us.

79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

and to guide us to the path of peace.”

80John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.

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