Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jack Graham » Jack Graham - Salvation Song

Jack Graham - Salvation Song

  • Watch
  • Audio
  • Donate
  • Prayer Request
    Jack Graham - Salvation Song
TOPICS: Songs for the Savior, Christmas, Salvation

Zachariah's song found here in Luke chapter 1 is a praise song and it is also a prophetic scripture. Now before we read God's Word let me give you a little background, a back story of what's happening. Meet Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth, an older couple living out in the country, a rural priest. Zachariah was serving, unknown, unheralded but faithful, and his very name Zachariah means God remembers. Or it could actually mean the one who remembers God. Certainly Zachariah remembers his God!

Now it was a very, very dark and distressing time for God's people, for Israel in this day. They were living under the boot of the beast, the Roman Empire. And there was political oppression and social injustice. And to make matters worse, Israel, God's people had no direct word from God for nearly 400 years. It had been one thousand years since the glory days of King David when Israel was at the height of its power and glory. Now 400 years, no word from God, no word of prophecy since Malachi had spoken and ended the Old Testament record. And the final sentence was not all that promising. It speaks in the final words of the Old Testament of a curse or destruction that is sure to come! The people were living in destruction, and they were living in darkness. And there seemed to be very little hope.

Zachariah, his wife Elizabeth, were doing the best they could. One day Zachariah was serving his priestly duty in the temple in Jerusalem. Now this was a big deal for a country preacher because he's actually now in the rotation and he is invited to Jerusalem to participate in the sharing of the incense and in the Holy Place. And while he is in the Holy Place on this very day, something surprising happened. An angel shows up, and he tells Zachariah who's an older man, that he and his wife Elizabeth, also older, are going to have a baby! That's surprising! So surprising and so startling that Zachariah asks the question, "How can this be"?

Zachariah is told that he would be the father of the forerunner, the one who is to set the pace before the coming of the Messiah! That this priestly man, this good man, though doubtful, would become the link to the Messiah! Because Zachariah doubted this, God put him in time-out. Exactly! God pushed the mute button, and Zachariah can no longer speak for the nine months. He was so shocked, so surprised that he could no longer speak! Zachariah learned the hard way like most of us in life, he learned the hard way to trust God. And so for the next nine months in this forced silence Zachariah listens to God. And from that silence comes this song. The wonder within became the worship, and we have these words given to us, verses 67 to 79.

Look at it: "And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit", so we know this comes from God and it comes from the filling of the Holy Spirit, "and he prophesied, saying, 'Blessed... (There's our word, Benedictus, Latin) Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited (circle that word) and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation (underscore that phrase) horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. So he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies (circle saved) from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show mercy (big word in the Christmas story) mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, (Again, God's promise) to grant us that we would be delivered (circle that word delivered) from the hand of our enemies, that we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.'"

That's the Christian life, that we would "serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days" of our lives. Verse 76, he turns from a focus on the Son of God to his own son John. He's holding him in his arms. Verse 76, "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins". There it is, note, "The forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy", our word again, "mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us", there's that word again, visit. We're going to come back to it. "The sunrise will visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace". What a song! What a Savior!

Two points to this message: one, a divine visitation. That's what the first stanza is about. When we are told that this One from heaven, the Messiah, would be a visitor that God remembers His people. The silence is broken. He bursts forth in praise. Why? Because he now knows the Savior is on the way. The interminable waiting is over! We often wait in silence and we wonder if God hears our prayers. We wonder, "God, are you ever going to come through with your promise in my life"? "Are we ever going to have that baby"? "Am I ever going to get married"? "Are we ever going to get our finances straightened out"? "Am I ever going to get well"? "Am I ever going to see this depression lift"? We wait and wait and wait, and sometimes in our waiting we wonder, "God, do you remember me"? "God, do you even know my name? Do you know where I am? Do you hear my prayers? God, do you remember me, much less love me? God, do you love me"?

The message of Christ which is the message of Christmas is that God remembers you! He knows you and has a plan for your life. He delivers on His promises right on time exactly on schedule every single time. In fact in the coming of Christ into the world Galatians 4:4 says, that "He came in the fullness (or in the completion) of time"; translated at the exact right time at the moment that God had planned God came forth, Jesus was born of a virgin and came to earth. God knows you! And knows your name. He remembers you. He's remembered you from your mother's womb just like He knew John the Baptist in his mother's womb.

When Mary showed up to visit Elizabeth, John the Baptist was getting a head start on his preaching career. He started kicking up in the womb. And what a reminder that is that from the womb to the tomb and beyond into eternity God knows our names, that we are created in His image. We are chosen by God even as John the Baptist was chosen and called by God. All of us are chosen and called by God. There is a destiny to fulfill. This is why we must not abort babies from their mother's womb. Or abuse children, or abandon children because children are a gift from God. And so the child now in his arms is a testimony to the fulfilled prophecy and promise of God. But, oh, how we hate to wait, don't we? Ha, I do. I can't believe it's taking this long. It's like our children in the backseat on those road trips. "Are we there yet"?

But while you're waiting on God, please remember that God is working in you. This very moment God is working in your life and weaving His plan for His glory and your good. Trust in His unfailing love, the love that moved Him to send His Son to rescue us from sin. God's plan for your life will be done. You're not wasting time when you're waiting on God. You're not wasting time when you're waiting on God. So often God gives the best things to those who are willing to wait on Him. Charles Wesley, the great Methodist songwriter, yesteryear, in his words: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus expresses what we experience when we wait and what Zachariah and Elizabeth certainly knew.

Come Thou long expected Jesus born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Is your heart longing, hoping for something more, something better? Jesus is the answer.

Born Thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit, Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

God remembers. But not only does God remember. And a good thing for you to do is for you to contemplate Him in this waiting. What are you going to do in the next fourteen days till Christmas? "Oh, I'm shopping. I'm stressed out. We're decorating". Make sure you're spending time in silence waiting on the Lord. "Be still, and know that I am God". We learned in Psalm 46:10. In other words, "Sh-sh, settle down. Quit so much rushing and start hushing. And listen to Me. Contemplate why I came; what I have done for you. And the day that you will see Me face to face".

God remembers us. But He also redeems us. God redeems us, for it says that, in verse 67 that He divinely visited us. He redeemed us which is a word which means to rescue. Literally it means to buy back out of prison, or out of slavery. This song, Zachariah's song, The Benedictus, is a song about a problem and a plan. Zachariah recognizes the problem. He talks about it. Bondage - why I slowed down a little bit as we were working our way in our reading. He spoke of bondage and hatred and chains, and the people who are living in darkness, crushed by Satan's power! Living in the shadow of death with no future to speak of!

That's the problem. It's a problem for all of us, isn't it? But this song focuses on the solution. And the solution is a Person, a Visitor, a Deliverer, a Liberator, a Lightbearer, a Lifegiver! And His name is Jesus! The Lord of heaven has visited us! And the word visit here, it's a word which really means to visit in a time of trouble, or to visit in a time of crisis. It's to visit and to relieve people in times of misery. That's what he's saying. But the divine Visitor, God Himself redeemed us by visiting us and freeing us from the bondage of sin and death and shame; to turn darkness into light.

C. S Lewis said this: "The central miracle asserted by Christians is the incarnation". The incarnation meaning when God became flesh; God became a man. He went on to say, "All the other miracles flow from this truth, the truth of the incarnation". When you think about it, every other miracle, past, present or future, is explained by this miracle; the miracle of God becoming Man-Messiah, the God-Man. Not half God and half man, not all God and no man, or no God and all man. Not a man who became a God, but God who became a Man and visited us! This is Christmas! This is Christianity! Zachariah is praising God for this! This divine visitation! But not only this divine visitation, but he speaks secondly, and finally I might add, of a dramatic victory. It's a visitation.

Christmas is a visitation. Christianity is this incarnation, but it is also a victory! It is a celebration for verse 68 there speaks of this "horn of salvation". You know what that means? "the horn of salvation". That's imagery, obviously. It's taken from the Old Testament, and the horn is a symbol of authority and power and victory! For example, soldiers in the past, we've even seen it in the 20th century past, would wear horns on their helmets, or spikes on their helmets. So it's a reference to a mighty powerful battle or victory that is won. The most likely, the "horn of salvation" refers to the horns of an animal, a powerful, destructive animal.

Now, I'm not talking about one of those animals like you guys hunt, Bambi out there at this time of year. I was asking Joe Perry, he's a big hunter, Joe our missions pastor. You know, I said, "Joe, what's the biggest horns on a deer that you've ever hit". Whatever you do to those poor defenseless animals I'm okay with that. Don't write me, alright? Okay, so you've got these horns. He said, "Well, yeah, pastor," He said, "177"! Now I don't know what a 177 is but apparently that's pretty big.

Alright. So you mount those horns, but even a deer, a buck would use those horns as a defense mechanism, a fighting force. And it certainly these powerful others, you know, a rhino, I don't know, but they've got these powerful horns. That's the reference here. There animals that were like a killing machine! Zachariah is singing about the "horn of salvation" that God has killed and destroyed sin! He has defeated the darkness! The "horn of salvation", Christ is mighty to save! That's what it means. And Zachariah's excited because he knows what we know, that the Savior has come and given us victory in Jesus. He mentions here the prophets and the patriarchs, Abraham and David. He refers to his own son John the Baptist who was born to speak one sentence, as the forerunner of the Savior.

"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". Mary's little Lamb is Jesus who comes to take away the sin of the world. But all the prophets spoke of this Savior, this Messiah who has come. One who would be born of a virgin in the place called Bethlehem, David's royal city; who one day would rule the nations, Of whom Isaiah wrote, "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace". Zachariah is pumped. He's praising God because now the wait is over. God has kept His promise! And one last thing, He has defeated the darkness. This is our victory.

Look at verses 78 and 79 again in the scripture. It tells us that the sunrise has come, "the tender mercy of God, the sunrise will visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us in the way of peace". This light has come. It's a glorious light. It is God's light. It is a guiding light in the way of peace. Zachariah, of course, is referring to spiritual darkness in the world. He's referencing moral darkness in the world. And when he announces the sunrise has come, the Daystar has arrived; it means the dawn is breaking, Light has come.

So often they say the darkest night is just before the dawn. Maybe you've had some sleepless nights when you've wondered when will the light ever come? When will the day ever break? Zachariah's saying morning has broken. Bethlehem's morning has come and the Savior is born! And the Light has come! And we know who is the Light! Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world"! He is the light-bearer and He is the life-giver. Because life cannot exist without light. No wonder we're sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. But the darkness is no match for the Light of the world. Jesus has come! The sunrise is finally here. Christmas is all about the Light.

Titus 2:11, I love this verse for it speaks of the Light that shines on the whole world and all who will believe. "For the grace of God", this mercy, this grace, "The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for all people". No one is excluded. Salvation is open, and the invitation is for all to come. Sin brought darkness and death, suffering and pain, but Jesus the Light of the world brings light and life! All of history, all of humanity has been this battle between light and darkness, heaven and hell, darkness and light. And Christmas means, Zachariah's song sings that the darkness has been defeated, that the Light has won, and Jesus is Lord! He is Light, He is Life, He is Lord!

When you go into a dark room, you go into a dark room, you don't shout at the darkness and try to chase the darkness away. You don't curse the darkness. What you do is turn on the light. Light a candle. Turn on the light. When Jesus came into this dark world and into our dark hearts, what did He do? He turned on the light! Turned on the light! And John's Gospel says, "and the darkness could not comprehend it". The darkness cannot conquer the Light!

And one final thing, this light of Jesus now in us, we're to take that message to the world, because our Lord said, "You now are the light of the world". And there are millions who are groping in darkness, who are living in the shadows of death all around us, who need you to walk into their lives with the light of Jesus Christ, and be a witness of the One, of the God who remembers and never forgets His promise, of the God who rescues and forgives us and cleanses us from all our sins, and the God who rises in our heart as Lord of life and Lord of all. Amen?
Are you Human?:*