Hurstbourne Baptist Church; December 6, 2020
Sermon Notes and Quotes: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
“The Song of Zechariah”
- Intertestamental Context: A Long Silence (Malachi 4:5-6)
- Zechariah is Silenced Due to Unbelief (Luke 1:5-25)
- Zechariah Breaks His Silence (1:57-79)
Intertestamental Context: A Long Silence (Malachi 4:5-6)
- The Intertestamental Period was a period of about 400 years spanning from the end of Malachi’s ministry to the appearance of John the Baptist in the first century.
- During this time, the people of God were NOT expecting the Messiah. They were expecting a prophet like Elijah to prepare the way for Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6).
Zechariah is Silenced Due to Unbelief (Luke 1:5-25)
- When Gabriel came to Zechariah, he told him, “Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son […] and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1:13-17).
- Zechariah understood exactly what the angel Gabriel was saying. Zechariah understood that Gabriel was referring to the prophecy of Malachi 4; nevertheless, his first response was unbelief: “And the angel answered him, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time’” (Luke 1:18-20).
- Nevertheless, God was at work in Zechariah’s silence. And maybe, for some of you, that is the most important thing you could discover this morning – that God is always at work in the silences. For some of you, 2020 has felt painfully quiet. This passage is calling you to trust God in the silence.
- “Zechariah had nine months of silence to brood and ponder and pray and meditate on his Bible, the Old Testament. His silence may have been a divine rebuke for his unbelief, but God always turns his rebukes into rewards for those who keep faith. Remember that, you who right now suffer from the scars of past sins. If you keep faith now God will turn the marks of sin into memorials of grace. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Piper, “Jesus is The Horn of Salvation”).
Zechariah Breaks His Silence (1:57-79)
- If you were corked up for nine months because you did not believe the promises of God, what would come out of your mouth when you finally spoke again? After nine months of silence, Zechariah pronounced a blessing: “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God” (1:64).
- The Central Theme of Zechariah’s Song is God’s visitation to His people: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people” (1:68). Jesus is “God with us.”
- Zechariah also prophesied concerning John the Baptist’s ministry:
- John will Prepare the Way for Jesus (1:76)
- John will Preach the Forgiveness of Sins (1:77-79)