“Through the tender mercy of our God – whereby the dayspring from on high visited us – (79) to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death – to guide our feet into the Way of peace.” [Lk.1:78-79]
In the previous newsletter we noted the context of Lk.1:78-79. How that Zacharias, an old priest of the temple, had received a visitation by Gabriel, the Angel. He brought to him the news that the son whom he and his barren wife, Elisabeth, had long prayed for — would finally be given to them. Furthermore, that son would be John the Baptist, the forerunner and prophet/messenger of the promised Seed – the incarnate Christ of God. And these two verses deliver to us a short list of the eternally saving blessings that by God’s grace have been bestowed upon all the redeemed “people prepared for the Lord” [see vs.17] with the coming of Him who is the Christ! However, Zacharias could not believe the news divinely delivered unto him through Gabriel. Therefore, God made the priest unable to speak even a word until all “…these things shall be performed”.
Consequently, Elisabeth — Zacharias’s barren wife — conceived and gave birth to their son – who was — in fallen human history — the messenger/forerunner of Christ Jesus, our Lord. And, after over 9 months of God-caused silence the Lord opened Zacharias’s mouth and the first thing he spoke by the Holy Spirit was Lk.1:68: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel – for He hath visited and redeemed His people…”.
The capstone, however, of his whole Holy Spirit induced and inspired statement points directly to the glory of the greatest and most incomprehensible miracle that God ever performed: the incarnation of His eternal, holy and beloved and only begotten Son into the fallen human “likeness of sinful flesh” [see Ro.8:3]. He became the literal, historical Jesus of Nazereth. This utterance becomes Zacharias’s announcement of the gospel of the glory only of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ – the only sovereign Savior/substitute and Redeemer that there ever was, is, or ever will be! Praise His Holy Name! [see 2Co.5:21 and Col.2:9-10]
God’s Word tells us from Lk.1:78-79 of four blessings given unto His redeemed people. The first one is His “tender mercy”; and he tells us that it is “through” His “tender mercy” that the other three blessings are bestowed upon us. This way of expressing His “everlasting mercy” (see Ps.136) emphasizes the Lord’s great compassion that He has for all those that are His “prepared people”. From Ex.33:19 God descriptively declares that He – “will be gracious to whom He will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom He will show mercy.”
God’s “chosen” sinner “peculiar people” [see 1Pe.2:9-10] – which are the same as the “people prepared for the Lord” [of Lk.1:17] – need His “tender mercy”! Mercy is where we sinners do not receive that which we truly do deserve for our sins through the person and redemptive work of Christ Jesus. Grace is where we sinners do receive that which we truly do not deserve in our eternal salvation, once again, through the person and redemptive work of Christ Jesus.
Every one of God’s eternally saved ones are quickened by the Holy Spirit to see clearly that they are hopeless and undeserving sinners just like the publican described by the Lord Jesus in Lk.18:13. We all cry out for holy God to (lit.) “be mercifully propitious to me a sinner”. The only one who can and does fulfill this for us – and in us — is He who is: “the dayspring from on high”!
For Christ’s Glory Only!