67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”
Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was struck silent for months because he didn’t believe the promise the angel made when he was ministering in the temple. When his son is born, his tongue is loosed and he prophesied under the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a beautiful passage. Zechariah prophesies about his son and about how God had visited his people. There is hope of salvation and deliverance in his words.
On Christmas Eve morning, I read this passage and was struck by verses 74-75. As I read those words – that God was moving to deliver us from the hand of our enemies that we might serve him – the question came to me: The Lord Jesus has come and delivered us from all our enemies. His work on the cross brings this deliverance. But, who are my enemies? Who has he delivered me from?
Certainly sin…The work of Jesus on the cross brings deliverance from the power of sin. It is no longer my master.
And death and Satan…Death has lost its sting because in Jesus there is hope of life that is eternal…and Satan is no longer my master because I have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God!
But what else? What other enemies might I have? I’m sure Zechariah had in mind – or many in his day at least – that the Messiah would come and get rid of the Romans. But from this side of the cross, we have a better perspective and realize that the deliverance in view here is first and foremost something spiritual…
So what about my false-self. The ‘me’ I want people to think I am…the ‘me’ I project myself to be. Could it be that Jesus delivers me, rescues me, from my false-self? I think so, because through him, I am being transformed into the ‘me’ I was created to be. I am being remade in the image of Christ.
And he delivers me from fear…fear that I am not loved for who I am…fear that I can never be good enough…Jesus came and demonstrated through his incarnation, life, death, and resurrection that I am loved! While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me! And obviously not just for me, but for all who believe. But the beauty is that his perfect love delivers me from fear!
Because I have been delivered, I am free to live and to love and to serve my heavenly Father without fear! I am free to live in the power of His Holy Spirit – to live a life that is increasingly full of righteousness and holiness!
I am free! I am loved! I am in Christ!
Wow! Now that’s a great Christmas present!