Preparing the Way

Key Verse: “Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.”
—Luke 1:76

Selected Scripture:
Luke 1:67-80

THE WORDS OF OUR KEY Verse are those of Zacharias the priest, the father of John the Baptist, and are part of his prophetic utterance concerning the purpose of John’s life and the blessed hope for all Israel that would come shortly through the birth of their Messiah, Jesus. Zacharias first blesses the God of Israel for having provided, through the coming Messiah, their means of redemption. He even alludes to the fact that Jesus would come through the lineage of David. (Luke 1:69) He continues his prophecy by reminding us that this redemption and salvation was spoken “by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.” (vs. 70) Perhaps one of these he had in mind were the words in Jeremiah, “The days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”—Jer. 23:5,6

Zacharias goes on in his prophecy and states that three things will take place as a result of this coming salvation. First, the nation of Israel would be saved from their enemies and from those who hate them. Second, God’s covenant which he swore to Abraham would be remembered. And third, they would finally serve God in holiness and righteousness. (Luke 1:71-75) Although Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, provided the means of their salvation (and that of the entire world) nearly two thousand years ago, these three resulting blessings have not yet taken place, but will most assuredly happen in due time during Messiah’s Kingdom, to be established here upon the earth. In the meantime, since Jesus’ First Advent, he has been selecting out a ‘little flock’ of faithful followers, those who will be associated with him in the coming time of blessing to Israel described above, which blessings will extend to all the families of the earth.—Gen. 12:3

In the Key Verse, Zacharias describes the role of his son John, that he would be a prophet, and would prepare the way for the coming Messiah. He continues, in verse 77, by stating that this preparation was to be in the form of making known to the people this impending great event of salvation, and to cause them to prepare their hearts through repentance from sin and turning back to God, from whom many had strayed. Thus being in a proper condition of heart and mind, they would be ready to receive their Messiah and the salvation which he would bring.

Zacharias concludes his prophecy by reminding us that this salvation is through the tender mercies of God (verse 78), and he likens the coming of the Messiah to the light of the rising sun. “The dayspring [margin: sunrising] from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78,79) As similarly stated by the Prophet Malachi, “the Sun of righteousness [shall] arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” (Mal. 4:2) Truly Zacharias and his son John were blessed by the Lord to be able to speak of these coming blessings and to have the opportunity to prepare men’s hearts to receive them.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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