Zechariah’s song celebrating the announcement of his son’s birth is a wonderful hymn that highlights some of the mighty acts of God. Two things stand out in the first half of this hymn. One is that God has raised up a mighty savior for us, and the other is that we can serve God without fear.
Fear has been with us from the beginning. Adam was afraid in the garden (see Genesis 3:10), and the Bible is full of announcements that tell us not to be afraid. Most angelic appearances begin with “Fear not.” Zechariah himself was afraid when an angel of the Lord appeared to him.
I have heard that the only legitimate fears are of loud noises and falling. I’m not sure about that, but I am sure most of our fear is of our own making. We need to hear the divine “Fear not!”
God raises a mighty savior to help us gain freedom from fear. How many prophets and saviors have come to us in our life! Think of all the parents, relatives, colleagues, friends, teachers, and ministers God has sent to us! We are assured that we are not walking alone; we are surrounded by “a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) as we run the race set before us. With this help, we can experience moments of awe and reverence rather than worry and anxiety.
God of history, help us to be mindful of your prophets among us and to experience freedom from fear and anxiety. Amen.
Our readings for the week highlight the Reign of Christ. Jeremiah prophesies about a future King from the line of David who will bring justice, righteousness, and security for the people of God. Luke 1 records the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah praises God for raising up salvation from the house of David as God had promised through the prophets. This child will bring mercy, forgiveness, and light. Luke 23 recounts part of the story of the death of Jesus. Here Jesus, the Light of the world, dies as an act of mercy for our forgiveness. In Colossians, Christ holds first place above everything else. Through his death we are forgiven and brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
Read Jeremiah 23:1-6. How do you trust in God’s promises to bring safety and justice as you watch unjust rulers oppress and abandon their followers?
Read Luke 1:68-79. What will you say when you break your silence?
Read Colossians 1:11-20. Recall a time when you waited for something in great anticipation. How did your faith help you find patience?
Read Luke 23:33-43. How do you recognize Christ as King when you experience or witness suffering?
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