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The Benedictus (Song of Zachariah)

Luke 1:5-25,57-80

Rev. John F. Wurst

Advent feria I (midweek)
The Lutheran Church of Christ the King  
Duluth, Minnesota

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 

"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)

Luke 1:5-25, 57-80

Advent Feria I - Benedictus (Song of Zachariah)

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Zechariah is a righteous man. Husband and priest. Faithful. He was no different than you when it came to sin and disobedience. When the angel, Gabriel, came to him with glad tidings of great joy, Zechariah fell into unbelief. The Lord God delivered His judgement against Zechariah with the sound of silence. The Lord silenced his voice.

Zechariah could no longer talk with Elizabeth except by scratching his words on a slate. He could not express his love or concern for his bride and the baby she carried in her womb. He could not chant the Psalter in the Temple. Why? He fell into unbelief and doubted the Word of The Lord concerning the conception and birth of his son.

When it came time for the child to be born, the family began talking about naming the child just like you do today. Shall he named after his father? Grandfather? Uncle? Elizabeth said, No, he shall be called John." The family was listening to Elizabeth. They began making signs to Zechariah to ask him what the child will be named.

Zechariah requested his slate. He wrote, "His name is John." Forgiven. Faithful. Zechariah proclaims the Word of The Lord delivered to him by the angel Gabriel. His name is John and His mouth opened and his tongue was loosed.

Zechariah blessed the Name of The Lord when he wrote on his slate that his son will be named John. Zechariah, a husband, now father, and still priest, broke out in song praising God.

In verses 68-75 of the Holy Gospel, Zechariah sings and testifies to the One true God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - The Lord God of Israel. He sings of the visitation referring to the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh of man.

Zechariah sings of redemption, that is, the buying back, the atonement, the saving grace of all men by the Blood of the Lamb who was slain on the cross on Good Friday. By His Blood, Jesus set free all men from the bondage of sin and death. By His Blood, Jesus stamped your souls and the souls of all who believe in Him with the sign of the crucifix indicating to His Father that you are redeemed. You are His. You are a son of His kingdom.

Zechariah's song about God's Son, Jesus Christ, continues on with the proclamation about the salvation Jesus earned for all believers through His suffering, dying, rising again from the dead, and His ascension into heaven. The beauty of this part of the song is that Zechariah makes reference to the first promise The Lord made to Adam and Eve in the Garden in Eden. Zechariah, like the other prophets and priests never forgot the promise The Lord made to save His people from their sin. They held fast to the Word and all the promises it delivers.

Finally, Zechariah speaks of deliverance from the hand of our enemies. This stanza is the nail in the devil's coffin. Freedom. Deliverance. Ransom. Redemption. Protection. All words that mean Jesus defeated the old evil foe. Jesus defeated him not with might, swords, or clubs. He didn't buy your freedom with gold or silver or even fine gems. He conquered him in death with His precious Body and His innocent Blood. Jesus conquered and destroyed death in death.

Jesus did it for you because He loves you. He did it standing in your place taking the punishment you deserve for your sins. He took it all upon His shoulders and stamped His Father's invoice PAID IN FULL with innocent Blood.

Zechariah concludes his song praising God for his son, John, who will go before the Christ calling the Nation of Israel to repentance. John will go into the wilderness and preach the message of salvation. He will live off the land. He will not look like the priests in the Temple with all their flowing vestments. He will wear rags. He will be faithful even unto death.

On this holy night, the Holy Spirit has called you here to tell you that you are a sinner. You deserve nothing from God the Father except His wrath and punishment against your sins. However, the Holy Spirit also preaches the Gospel. He preaches grace. He preaches mercy. He preaches Jesus into your ears and into your souls.

The Holy Spirit is the One pointing you to the way of peace; the peace that surpasses all understanding. The Holy Spirit opened your lips so you can speak by faith. The Holy Spirit has liberated you again by forgiving your sins in Jesus Name.

To God alone be all honor, worship, and praise for the sake of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.

+ SDG +

(C) Rev. John F. Wurst

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