At some point after Mary’s song, it was Zechariah’s turn. His was a prophetic song and though it was primarily about his son, it also included elemental references to the Messiah he would serve…
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,
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.” (1:76-79)
Notice in these verses the clear reference to his son John who came to fulfill the prophecy of old and “prepare the way of the Lord”. Of particular interest is the ending, Zechariah’s mention of the “tender mercy” of God and the way he uses the example of the rising sun each day as an example of God’s mercy. Where would we be if the sun stopped rising?
As we continue reading it becomes abundantly clear that Zechariah isn’t talking about the literal sun, rather he is referring to God’s Son, coming to shine the light of His presence in a dark world that teeters on the edge of destruction. God’s Son will light the path so that we might avoid falling into disaster and be redeemed by God to find the path of peace.
This is a powerful and gripping image, reminiscent of the prophets of centuries before, and one that should light our hearts still today, for it has come to pass, and we who follow Jesus Christ have received its incredible blessing.
With this, Luke has set the stage for the arrival of God’s Son, but this arrival will have an unusual kind of glory…