Luke 1 tells the story of the gospel from the beginning. Luke did a wonderful job describing details of the gospel we don’t see in the other books. As I read chapter one this morning I was captivated by the prophetic words of John’s father, Zacharias, as he spoke about the birth of his son and the events that would follow. Here are his closing words, spoken through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration,
“To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
The whole purpose of Jesus coming is encapsulated in these few words. They are amazing words. Notice the keys to these few sentences- to give, to shine, to guide. Let me use these three keys for my thoughts today.
To give- “To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,”
Everything happens because God is a giver, it all comes from his tender mercy. God is the initiator. God starts it all by giving. His gifts come from his tender mercies. That very phrase captivates me- his tender mercies. Out of his tender mercies he acts, he gives, he provides forgives He gives us knowledge of something we desperately need based entirely on something he does to solve our need. He gives us knowledge of salvation. It’s a salvation based on forgiveness of sins. What does it save us from? The penalty of those same sins. God’s tender mercy brings a solution and provides the knowledge of that solution to us.
To shine- “to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.”
The one thing darkness needs is light. The one thing we needed is light to see, to know, to realize where we were. I love the commercial where they have sprayed a room fragrance in a horrible place and brought blindfolded people in to “smell the air.” They take off the blindfold and cannot believe where they are! This is what happens when the light of Christ shines on our sin soaked lives and worlds. We suddenly see how horrible the place is where we had made home. It’s his light that shows us our need. We have no idea how close we are to death until the lights come on and then, suddenly, we see how horrible this place really is.
To guide- “To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
The one thing we need most is peace, but to find it we need two things- light and a guide. Thankfully God has provided both! How amazing that he has provided all we need; knowledge, light and a guide to the way of peace. There is so much to be written on these simple verses, but for today I just wanted to spend a few moments on these words and invite you to meditate on them for your own walk with God. To know that God has provided all we need to go from ignorance to knowledge, from wrath to mercy, from darkness to light, and from fear to peace is more than I can comprehend. It’s wonderful for me personally to realize that God has made such great provision for us through his great mercy.
To give, to shine, to guide. All we need to know Him. How wonderful!
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