Friday, December 13, 2013

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 15, 2013

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ZACHARIAH PROPHESIES ABOUT JOHN
(Sharing the message of salvation)
(Luke 1:57-79)

Luke chapter 1, verses 67-80, comprises the prophetic “psalm of Zechariah” that has come to be known in the Christian Church, as “The Benedictus”. The term “Benedictus”, just like the term, “Magnificat” (Mary’s song of praise), finds its origins in the “Vulgate”, the first Latin translation of the Bible that was written by Jerome in the latter half of the third century, and it is translated “blessed” in English. This passage is filled with Old Testament quotations and allusions, as Zechariah expounds to us, four great Christian ideas of theology;

1.      An exaltation of praise to GOD (v.68a)
2.      The reason that GOD should be praised (v.68b)
3.      A prophetic description of the deliverance of Israel through the coming MESSIAH
            (Vs.69-75)
4.      He foretells the ministry of his own son, John the Baptist, as the one chosen to go before the MESSIAH, and indeed, prepare the way for HIM (76-79)

This stretch of passage is clear evidence that Zechariah had finally come to understand the message of the archangel Gabriel (Luke 1:5-25), and he was now ready to proclaim that message to the entire nation of Israel. He understood that his son John would be a prophet of “the Most High GOD”, and, that he would preach the same message of “human repent” and “divine forgiveness of GOD” that would be later preached by the coming CHRIST.
As John grew, he became “very strong in human spirit”, and, he possessed “a GOD-given vitality and fortitude” that would certainly come in handy throughout his ministry. He would choose the lifestyle of the prophet Elijah and dwell in the desert until it was time for his public service to GOD and mankind to begin. And for a brief space in time, his ministry would catapult him into the highest prominence of anyone, except CHRIST, in the annals of New Testament literature. He “bore witness to the SAVIOR”, and he proclaimed HIS message of “repent”, “forgiveness” and “salvation” to the world, even before the world had heard it from the lips of CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF.
We too, as Christians, are called to proclaim and convey the message of CHRIST JESUS to the world. And besides, who else will do it, if we don’t. Zechariah’s prophetic poem praises GOD for the MESSIAH, and, for the role of his own son, John the Baptist. Our praise to GOD should be for the same reason, and, for the realization of the benefits that we receive, just by believing “the Good News” that they each delivered.
Luke has been successful in focusing our attention on “the atmosphere of hope and expectation” that GOD was beginning to create among the people of that era, and we can vividly espy, through his writings, just how they were being prepared for the first advent of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
We, on the other hand, are called to, and must, proclaim and prepare the world for the second coming of CHRIST, and even though the world of today is much more populated, than the world of the first century, just as it did in that era, it will still take all of our hearts, and all of our minds, and all of our hands to accomplish this same divine task.
However, we can rejoice in the second coming, just as the dedicated men and women of GOD rejoiced in that day, because our position with GOD is still being elevated by way of JESUS’ restoring power of Salvation, through HIS vicarious sacrifices during HIS first advent.
Today, no man for whom CHRIST JESUS has died can be called worthless. And HE died for all mankind in general, and for all Christians in particular. HE restored our lost relationship of friendship with GOD, and enabled us to overcome, an otherwise, saddened and doomed state of existence. At one and the same time, HE also helped us to understand and become what we ought to be, which is quite simply, “a servant and child of GOD”. And now, we must go and proclaim, precisely that message.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 

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