'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
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,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall 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.'”
This Spirit-inspired proclamation from Zechariah gives us a beautiful and powerful picture of the gospel. We often think of the gospel as the message of God legally forgiving our sins (“justifying” us) because of Jesus’ work on the cross. While this is true, Zechariah’s song (along with many other Bible passages) shows us that the gospel is even more comprehensive.
The gospel is explained here as God visiting and staying with his people (v. 68), saving us from our enemies (v. 71), fulfilling his ancient promises for us (vv. 72–73), delivering us so that we might serve him without fear (v. 75), forgiving our sins (v. 77), shining light on our darkness (v. 79), and guiding us into a life of peace (v. 79). The gospel is full of mercy (God not giving us what our sin deserves), but even more, it is full of grace, with God giving us countless gifts and his own presence!
When we begin to grasp the breadth and depth of the gracious, comprehensive work of God through Jesus as described here, our hearts are engaged with devotion to God. We begin to get a vision of all that God is for us. Understanding the gospel in this broader way makes Jesus not just the “religious” part of our lives but the focus of all our hopes. We should meditate regularly on the fullness of our salvation!
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.