Praise for Salvation: The Davidic Covenant
Topic: Redemption Verse: Luke 1:67–1:71
“Praise for Salvation:The Davidic Covenant”
Theme: The consummation of redemptive hope is found in Jesus.
In the previous section, we saw the power of God’s Word prompting men to give glory to God. Zacharias and Elizabeth both were overjoyed at the fulfillment of God’s Word and obedient to God’s instructions concerning the naming of their son John. The overall result of these events brought fear among those who heard of God’s working – His visitation whereby He inserted Himself into the affairs of Israel and initiating the events that would produce redemption.
Zacharias’ deafness and muteness gave way to his ability to speak. For almost 10 months, he had suffered with the inability to express himself – and now he had so much that he desired to say in exultation and worship of God. He has quietly meditated on the working of the Lord – the blessings that the Lord was heaping upon him personally, Elizabeth and him as a couple, and upon Israel itself in initiating the ministry of both the forerunner of the Messiah, and the Messiah Himself.
Worship becomes the impulse of those who are struck with the mercy and grace of God in redemption – when we experience the work of God or reflect on what God has done for us in delivering us from our sins and reconciling us to Himself, our hearts cannot be dormant – they become energized and active. Our hands reach heavenward with the desire to exalt the Name of the Lord in worship – cp. Psalm 5:11; 13:6; 30:4; 92:1
We’ve already seen this in the heart of Elizabeth (Luke 1:25, 42-43); Mary (Luke 1:46-55); and, now through Zacharias. His anthem of praise is presented in three basic emphases – focusing on various aspects to God’s integrity in keeping His covenant with Israel – to redeem. His worship focuses on the major covenant made with Israel – the Abrahamic Covenant, and two lessor covenants – the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant. Today, we look at the Davidic Covenant – that covenant that elaborates the seed portion of the Abrahamic Covenant, focusing on the provision of the Messiah as the seed of David – the Deliverer who will establish the kingdom and rule Israel with wisdom and power.
Zacharais worships the Lord because of the Heralding of Redemption, the Horn of Redemption, and the Hope of Redemption. First, we see …
I. The “Heralding” of Redemption – 1:67-68
A. The Celebration of Praise – vv. 67-68a
- Immediately after breaking his silence and declaring: “His name is John” in v. 63, “Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied …”
- This refers more to the simple proclamation of God’s Word under the direction of “the Holy Spirit” than on prediction or foretelling of future events.
- Thus under the guidance of the “Spirit,” Zacharias begins with an utterance of great praise and glory to God: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel …”
- “Blessed” [εὐλογητός] – the word where we get “eulogy” - essentially means to speak highly of someone, to praise someone for their accomplishments.
- This is a common way to introduce the praise of God in the Old Testament – and in Latin utilizes the word benedictus – from where this section gets its subtitle in the Christian traditions.
- It is interesting that John was unable to provide a benediction for which the Jewish people stood outside the temple awaiting when he was struck deaf and mute, but as soon as he can speak, he proclaims a most eloquent “benediction!”
B. The Certainty of the Provision - v. 68b
- Here we see Zacharias “blessing” God because of the way that God had broken His silence, intervened in the abandonment & silence Israel had known, and had initiated the process that would end in redemption – “… for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people.”
- There is an emphasis in this section of the certainty of redemption through a technical use of the aorist tense called a “prophetic aorist.”
- The sense of this grammatical tool is to refer to something in the past tense that has yet to be accomplished in order to emphasize its certainty.
- “redemption” [λύτρωσις] – has as its primary nuance the “experience of being liberated from an oppressive situation.”
- In our text, “redemption” has two aspects that the saints alive at the time of Christ did not properly differentiate:
- Redemption from the bondage to sin – the primary mission of the Messiah during the 1st Advent – Daniel 9:24a; Isaiah 61:1-2a
- Redemption from the bondage to national oppressors – the primary mission of the Messiah during the 2nd Advent – Daniel 9:24b; Isaiah 61:2b-11; Luke 1:71.
- The struggle of the Jewish people during the time when Christ was on the earth was that they looked more diligently for the political redemption than for the spiritual redemption and thus rejected Jesus when He focused on their spiritual need.
- Yet, in the prophecy of Zacharias, this redemption is so certain, that it is as if it has already been accomplished – because the Lord “has visited us …”
- This “visitation” was the occasion when the God became flesh to redeem them from both their bondage to sin as well as to the Gentiles – cp. Luke 19:40
- Zacharias is absolutely confident – under the direction of the Holy Spirit – that redemption is the agenda of the Messiah who had been conceived and for whom his own son was the forerunner.
II. The "Horn” of Redemption – 1:69
A. The Capability of the Redeemer
- The analogy that God uses throughout the Old Testament to refer to maximum authority and power is to a horned animal – such as an ox or a bull, possibly even a ram – a power to conquer and kill - cp. 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalm 18:2; 132:17; Micah 4:13
- Here Zacharias picks up on this anticipated power and declares that God “has raised up a horn of salvation for us …”
- This refers to the Messiah who will be “unopposable” – for whom resistance is futile.
- Again, the focus of the mightiness of the Messiah is on deliverance – both from the power and oppression of sin as well as from the domination by the Gentiles over Israel.
- He will have absolute power to do both – and will certainly do both.
- The great delight of sinners – such as Zacharias – is to know that we have a Redeemer who is able to deliver us from the oppression of sin and provide us victory – He is indeed a Mighty Savior!
B. The Covenant of the Redeemer
- We are then directed to the specifics of the covenant that God had made with David – “… in the house of David, His servant.”
- The Davidic Covenant – the elaboration of the Abrahamic Covenant relating to the promises of the seed – cp. 2 Samuel 7:12-16
- According to this promise, God will “raise up” a descendant from David – here in Luke called the “horn of salvation” – who will rule over Israel’s kingdom “forever.”
- This is a reference to the permanent, glorious, earthly reign of the Messiah who will sit on the throne of His father, David – cp. Jeremiah 23:5; Luke 1:32
- God had thus made this covenant that Zacharias now celebrates - declaring that God had fulfilled His promise by providing that deliverer – the “horn of salvation” that was to come “in the house of David …”
III. The Hope of Redemption – 1:70-71
A. The Voices re: the Future – v. 70
- Steeped in the prophecies of the Old Testament, Zacharias refers to the numerous places where this Deliverer is promised – “As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old …”
- There had been great detail provided by the prophets – a passionate focus as God’s Spirit provided specific promises regarding the coming Kingdom of the Messiah.
- “It has been estimated that more than forty other passages are directly related to these verses” most notable among them is the book of Isaiah.
- In summary, “according to Isaiah’s prophecy the Lord will restore the faithful remnant of Israel to the land to inhabit the kingdom. He will defeat all of Israel’s enemies, providing protection for His people. In the kingdom, Israel will enjoy great prosperity of many kinds. The city of Jerusalem will rise to world preeminence. Israel will be the center of world attention, and her mission will be to glorify the Lord. Gentiles in the kingdom will receive blessing through the channel of faithful Israel. Worldwide peace and righteousness will prevail under the rule of the Prince of Peace. Moral and spiritual conditions in the kingdom will reach their highest plane since the fall of Adam. Governmental leadership will be superlative with the Messiah, the perfect dictator who is just and true, in charge. Righteousness will prevail as the King swiftly judges overt sin. Humans will enjoy long lives; those who die at one hundred years of age will be considered mere youths. Knowledge of the Lord will be universal. The world of nature will enjoy a great renewal. Wild animals will be tame; the lion will lie down with the lamb, and children play with poisonous snakes. Sorrow and mourning will not exist. Finally, an eternal kingdom as part of God’s new creation will follow the millennial kingdom.”
B. The View of Fulfillment – v. 71
- The ultimate fulfillment of these things await the 2nd Coming when the provisions of these prophecies will be completely and specifically fulfilled.
- The spiritual provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant will be celebrated by Zacharias in the following verses, but his immediate focus is on the deliverance that the Messiah will provide from the Gentiles – “Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us …” - Psalm 106:10
- Like all of the other Jews at the time, Zacharias was convinced that the Kingdom’s arrival was imminent – that the deliverance from sin and from the Gentiles would be concurrent.
- He had no idea that Israel would reject and execute their King and that the Kingdom would be thousands of years away.
- Nevertheless, Israel’s disobedience and rejection of Jesus cannot nullify the promises of the unconditional covenant that God made with both Abraham and David – Romans 3:3
- Jesus will come again to establish His Kingdom just as God promised David and Israel will weep at what their fathers did when they rejected the Messiah – cp. Zechariah 12:10.
- In that day, Israel will joyfully welcome Jesus – cp. Matthew 23:39
- At that great day to come, the Messiah will come and deliver Israel from their enemies – Revelation 19:11-21.
- This is when – in Christ Jesus – the hope of redemption is consummated in glorious faithfulness and salvation.