by Pastor Mark Perkins, Front Range Bible Church, Denver, Colorado, USA
Luke 1:67-69. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: ’Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His way; 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 shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.;"
Zacharias concentrates on the cross first. Zacharias realized the need for salvation, and that it had to come before any national independence or prosperity.
Then he talks of national freedom from oppression. He calls to mind the covenant of God, the Abrahamic covenant. He brings up the fact that peace gives one the opportunity to concentrate on God all the more.
John is the one who will prepare the way for the savior, to make smooth the path for him. He is to get people to the point where they can handle the ministry of our Lord.
Christ’s ministry will be hard to swallow, because it is about a personal redemption that requires humility. The people of Israel wanted national redemption without the sacrifice of individual pride. John will preach the message of salvation and forgiveness of sins.
Zacharias concentrates on the mercy of God, because Christ is the visible manifestation of mercy to all mankind. The Sunrise from on high is a term that is used to denote the resurrected status of Jesus Christ.
anatole means sunrise in the sense of the rising again of the sun in the east. ana is a preposition which means both up and again.
When you add the term from on high, it is obvious that this is God.
So, Zacharias looks forward to the manifest mercy of God in the person and work of Jesus Christ, especially concentrating on the resurrection.
The sunrise shines upon those who are in darkness and the shadow of death.
Darkness refers to the cosmic system of Satan his design to prevent us from believing in Christ, and to destroy our relationship with God.
The shadow of death refers to physical death. The light guides us into the way of peace (prosperity).