Joy For All People (Tidings of Great Joy series #4)
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Earlier this week, I was watching the news or reading a some news on an app. I can't remember what it was. But it just struck me. I mean, it was something that I've known, but it just struck me again, as to how much of the news that gets reported is negative. How much of it is really just bad news? I mean, it seems like every time you turn on the TV, whether it's local news, whether it's national news, you open a news app, whatever it is, it just all seems to be mostly bad news. And it is, I mean, it's even been reported that 90% of all news media that gets reported is bad news. I mean, nine out of every 10 times you and I turn on the TV for news, or we open up an app for news, what we're feeding ourselves is bad news. There's a lot of reasons for that, no doubt, but one of them is just that there's no shortage of bad news to report. I mean, there are bad things that are happening in our world all the time. We're at the very end of the year. And as we look back on a year, there's been no shortage of bad news that has happened in our world. As you look back over this year, we see your Russia invade Ukraine and all the terrible things that have gone on in that part of the world. Throughout this year, we've, we've seen what happened in a supermarket in Buffalo, we've seen what happened in Uvalde. And I could go on and on. We've all experienced and seen these things throughout our world and things that gets reported on in the news. And it can be really overwhelming to see how many negative and horrible things are going on in our world today. But it's not even just the bad news that we see happening in other places. That's also the bad news that you and I get in our own lives. 2022 was the year that some of you received the diagnosis of cancer, or maybe it was someone that you love that you found out has cancer, it was 2022. Or some of you found out that you had a miscarriage or someone that you loved, had a miscarriage, it was 2022 that you lost a job or that you've been dealing with the loss of someone that occurred during this year. I mean, it's not just the news that gets reported on it's the news that we receive in our own personal lives as well. And it just seems like sometimes with the the news and all the negative and bad news that is reported on and that we're always reading about and we're always being told about and then as we receive more bad news in our lives today, that it can cause us to live in so much fear, so much worry so much anxiety and even depression and just being down in the dumps. Because every time we turn the corner, there's bad news that's being reported somewhere else, or we're the ones who are receiving the bad news, even in our own lives. This kind of thing isn't unique to human AI. Today, it's been going on ever since the beginning of the world pretty much and when sin entered into the world, it was going on 2000 years ago when Jesus showed up on the scene. No doubt that there were those who were receiving bad news of illnesses and sicknesses and in pain and, and loss and suffering and things that they were experiencing in their own lives in the same way that we experience things in our own lives in 2022 that they did in the first century, they would have received bad news throughout their world as well, the Jewish nation, the Israelites were living under the rule in the oppression of the Romans, right? And so every time they would have turned the corner, someone would have been telling them well, the Romans are up to this. Now they told us we we can't do this now. Or we have to do this certain thing now. And they just kept squishing and pushing. And no doubt a lot of them probably felt like the society and the culture that they lived in was just becoming more and more godless and terrible to live in. And all of these negative and bad things were happening in their own world. And I'm sure that they too were filled with anxiety and worry and fear that they were often depressed because of what was going on in their own lives and the things that were all happening around them that they just couldn't seem to control. But as we get into Luke Chapter Two today, God breaks through all of the bad news. And he declares through an angel that he has some good news to share. And it's such good news that it will cause great joy. He says, among all people, not just some people but For all people, and so I can't wait to dive into this today. And for us to see all that we see here and what it would have said to them during the first century when all this was happening and unfolding and what it still even says to us today. Let's start in Luke Chapter Two beginning of verse one. And Luke says in those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. He says, this was the first sentence this took place, while Cornelius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. Okay, so we mentioned earlier how they would have been living under Roman rule and being oppressed by all the Romans and Luke here mentioned Caesar Augustus, the great Roman emperor of this Roman Empire that was built during this particular time. This was a title that he had been given it wasn't his original name. His original name was Gaius Octavian. He was the grandnephew and later adopted son of Julius Caesar. But because he had made a name for himself had been a great military leader who had helped make Roman rule into a great empire. The Roman senate is the one who gave him this new title, Caesar Augustus. It was a title that meant he was an Honored one that he was a majestic one. We even have a Marin inscription that's labeled him as this way, divine, Auguste Caesar, he's addressed as divine right son of a god imperata of land and see the benefactor and savior of the whole world. This is how he was viewed during this particular time as one who had either divine characteristics, or maybe even seen as divine him self. Either way, this was the guy that was seen as the one who was running the show, he was the guy who was in charge, he was calling the shots, he was running the whole world at this particular point in time, and Luke tells us that he ordered a census and because He is the ruler of the entire Roman world, and what he says goes again, he calls the shots, he is the authority. And so because of this, Mary and Joseph have to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for this sentence, because Caesar Augustus, the great and powerful, Caesar, Augustus, gave an order that said they had to. But here's what's so fascinating. In Micah chapter five verse to a book in the Old Testament that was written 700 years before ceases, Augustus issued this decree to move them from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We read this but you Bethlehem at Frasca, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old from ancient of times. In other words, this was a prophecy that God had inspired the prophet Micah to write about, about something that would happen in the future. And the event that he's talking about here was that the Messiah, the Christ, that Jesus was going to be born in Bethlehem. My point is, is that it may seem that Caesar Augustus was the one ruling the world at the time that he was the one calling the shots that Mary and Joseph were having to move from Nazareth to Bethlehem, because he ordered them to do so. But make no mistake about it. Caesar Augustus is not the one who's calling the shots here. This is the God of the universe who is sovereign and sits above all things, who is even working in and through a pagan ruler to carry out His will and His plan to send a Messiah, the One who would rescue and redeem the entire world. I think this is one of those things that we even see before we get into the rest of the chapter here that God is actively involved in the affairs of humanity, that he is not some god who is sitting up in the clouds, he is distant, he's got his back turn and he's not actively working and moving things in a direction that are according to his will and to his plan. He is sovereign. And I think that maybe this even says something to those of you who are here today are those of us who sometimes get a little bit too preoccupied about maybe who is in the White House in the state of our country and expending a lot of time and energy and exhausting all of that energy and time into trying to control everything, and bring God back into everything and make sure that everyone knows that the whole country is falling apart because of who it is that sits in the White House, and God isn't involved in anything anymore. If that would just change, God would be brought into the equation, and he would be starting to work and do things. Again, make no mistake about it. This is the same kind of thing that was going on 2000 years ago, it was a pagan ruler, who was in the White House, if you will, who was ruling and reigning and ordering decrees and things in a whole society, who was saying this is godless, this is terrible, things are falling apart, there's all this bad news, it would be different. If so and so was here, I wish we could change all of that. And yet God was still sitting on his throne. And he was moving things along according to His plan. Maybe sometimes you and I get a little pre to preoccupied with some of the things that are going on in this world that we feel like we have to control in order to bring God back into the equation of things when he's never left. And he's still working in and through even pagan rulers to establish and move the world where it is that he wants it to go. I hope that even causes some of us to be able to take a little bit more of a deep breath, to rest, to trust to depend in May maybe even be a little less vocal about calling out all of those who are so terrible in this world. When God sent His one and only Son to die for those same people as well. Luke says Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem from Nazareth. Verse five, that they were pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. And then he turns in verse six and says while they were there, it's an interesting phrase while they were there. How long had they been there? Was it the day that they showed up? Had they been there a week had been there two weeks had been there a month now. While they were there, while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born. And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son, She wrapped him in cloths were told and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. This would have been absolutely shocking to the first century readers that Luke was writing this originally to you and I and many of us who have been here and grown up in church, I've heard the story and seen it over and over. And it doesn't shock us near as much. But don't forget what had been said about this particular child in chapter one, leading up to chapter two, if you're reading this story for the very first time, and you didn't really know what was going on. Luke had described this baby who was going to be born in chapter one, as the Son of the Most High that this baby who is going to be born into the world was going to be a king, one from the lineage of David and who would reign over a kingdom that would never ended. This baby that was going to be born was the one who would fulfill prophecy and these covenant promises that were made to King David himself and even to father Abraham. Before him. Zachariah had called him the most high a horn of salvation in one who would redeem the people of God. And so if you were originally reading this for the first time, and you hear about the first baby that had been prophesied about being born, and you know, this second baby, and all of these things that were said about him, you're anticipating this baby to be born into this world with great splendor with great majesty with great fanfare, one that was fitting for a king. And yet Luke tells us here in verses six and seven, that he was born in the humblest of conditions, he was even laid in a feeding trough for animals, this would have been absolutely shocking. To the original audience that Luke was writing seems completely upside down from what should have happened. If he's really the Son of the Most High if he's a king, than he should have been born in a temple. He should have been born in a castle somewhere, he should have been born something that was with splendor and majesty as he's coming into this world. You would have thought this is just wrong. This is not right. But the thing is, is that Jesus would later grow up and basically teach and model that the kingdom that he came to establish was an upside down kingdom, that it was very different than the kingdoms that we see in this world, the Kingdom In this world, the kingdoms on earth are all about arrogance and pride and dominance. But Jesus would say that the real kingdom, God's Kingdom is about humility. It's about service, and it's about others. And so even as we see here, in the birth of this king of this kingdom, we get a foretaste, that he would be all about this upside down kingdom, that's very different from the world's kingdoms. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, was born in the most humbling of conditions, and placed in a feeding trough. It goes on and says in verse eight, and there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night, an angel of the Lord appeared to them in the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David, as a savior has been born to you he is the Messiah, the Lord and this will be assigned to you, you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger. This too is just one of the more fascinating things I think that we we see in this chapter as well, because I mean, out of all the people that God could have chosen to make an announcement to about the birth of his son, about God entering into the world, having taken on an additional nature to establish a kingdom here, he chose shepherds, the lowliest on the social ladder, those who were invisible in society, the outcast of society, and God chose to reveal it make this announcement to them. I mean, this isn't just the way that you do things. Again, the way we would do things, the things that make sense is that you would go to someone who has notoriety, someone who has fame, someone who is respected, you're looking for a Billy Graham type figure to go make this announcement to, to then go make the announcement to the rest of the world, because that's going to pick up traction, people are gonna respect what it is that they have to say, and you don't go to shepherds, you're gonna go to people who are invisible, who aren't even seen in this particular world. And yet, once again, we see evidence of this upside down kingdom, that Jesus came to establish over and above the kingdoms of this world. But don't miss this as well. This is noteworthy because of how much it says, I really think to you and I today, maybe there are some of you who are here today and you to feel invisible. You feel like you're not noticed you aren't valuable. Like the rest of the people that you see in the world. Maybe you feel that way, even in your own family, that you're not really seen that you're invisible, that you're an outcast. Hope what you see today, if that's you, and that's what you feel maybe about yourself, and the fact that the God of the universe chose to go to those who were invisible. Those who are out cast, those who were outliers, those who weren't noticed and respected to deliver this announcement to his son, what does that say about you? Does that say about me? Does that say about all of us, you are loved, you are valued, you are respected. No matter whether you seem to be invisible to the rest of the world, are what it is that you think about yourself, or what other people think about you, the God of the world sees you, he notices you. And he notices and sees your sin and your failures, and he still loves you and he still values you. And you don't have to get yourself to a certain place to be noticed by him. He sees you He loves you and even sent his own son into the world for you. I mean, he did say the angel said I bring you good news that will cause great joy for who for all people. Pretty sure all people include you, whoever you are, wherever you've been, whatever it is that you've done, whatever it is that you think makes you unlovable or and valuable to others or to God. He sees you he notices you and He sent Jesus for you. And this is good news, of course. And he said with this good news. It would be the kind of news that causes great joy in their lives. And the reason it would cause great joy in their lives was because of The baby because of this baby who was being born to them, and he makes sure that we don't miss who this baby is. He says that this baby carries three titles savior, Messiah. And Lord, the Savior is a title that points to Jesus's role as deliverer or rescuer that he was born into this world to rescue all people from their sins, to deliver all of us from the bondage that we're ultimately in to sin and death. This title Messiah that he was given would refer to him as the promised Anointed One of God that He was the one promised throughout the entire Old Testament that a Messiah was coming, one who was coming one day, this this covenant promise that He had made these oaths that God had made throughout the Old Testament. And this was announcing to the world that this is who he is who he was. The third title was the Lord, it's curious and Greek, this was the title that the emperor would sometimes even hold, right, he is seen as someone who has absolute sovereign authority, but again, points to him. Ultimately, as being God, this was a sign of him declaring that he was deity. And notice again, that these were not titled that the baby Jesus was going to grow into. Now, one day, once he gets going, he'll finally grow into these titles, what they're saying here, what the angel is saying is that he carries these titles, in who he is right then right there as a baby, and it's who he always has been the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. Now, notice, again, that as the Savior, as the Messiah, as the Lord, that He was the one coming in this world to do the things that we just said, to turn the world upside down, and the kingdom to do what's necessary to rescue you and I for our sin, and again, to bring great joy. He said, This news would cause great joy, I just want to camp out on the joy aspect of this great news that once again, is not for some people. But for all people, this joy would come not because situations and circumstances around us would change, but because of him because of who he is. And because of what he would bring us in a relationship with Him. Jesus, even after he grew up, talked about this, John records it in the 15th chapter of his gospel, where Jesus is teaching about the vine, and he's teaching about the branches. And you remember, he talks about how he's the vine, and we're the branches. And he's talking about this union that we have with him and that we, as we abide in him this, this life giving stuff would just flow through us as we continue to receive it. Well, in this context of Jesus teaching about the vine and the branches, we're told this, that Jesus said this in verse 11, of chapter 15. He says, I have told you this, so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. Now notice, first of all, and that statement, whose joy it is? Whose joy is it? His joy, right? My joy, right? Notice, secondly, where it will be? Where is it going to be? In You in Me in us, His joy is going to be in us? And notice the type of joy third of all that it is what type of joy is it a complete joy, right? His joy that's going to be in you, and it's going to be complete. In other words, no matter what your situations are, no matter what your circumstances are, no matter what's going on in your life, no matter what's happening all throughout our lawyers, law, our world, you have joy. And your joy is never lacking. In any of those moments. Your joy is always complete, you're full of it, you have it. You don't have to get out of the situation, you have to get out of the circumstance, the world doesn't have to change, who's sitting in the White House doesn't have to change, nothing has to change in order for you to have an experience of joy, because you have all of it in and through him if you're in union with Him. This is good news tidings of great joy that will cause great joy, he says and again, this is union language. He's the vine, where are the branches? What is the branch do? You just receive? You're in union with the vine. It's another image for relationship that we are in and it's really, even though we have all of these things. It's through an unconditional loving relationship that we have, where we're where we're valued. Where that joy of bounce We have it, we're united in divine, we have all the joy, it's complete, we're never lacking in it. But sometimes we don't experience it. We don't feel the joy in our lives in those moments. It's in that loving relationship that we have, we're, we're, we're open, and we're abiding. And we're just continuing to receive from Him through that unconditional loving relationship, where the joy begins to abound, and you and I begin to experience what it is that we already have. Think about a baby, maybe your own baby that you had, or a grand baby, right? And you, you're holding your baby. And a lot of times, what do we what do we do, we put our, our face right in front of their face, and we try to move it to where they're, they're actually seeing us so that they see that we're seeing them, right? And what do we do when they get their attention, we, we open our eyes a little bit more, and we smile a little bit bigger, and we change the tone of our voice and and we're saying I see you and I value you and I unconditionally love you and I'm in a relationship with you. And what do they all of a sudden start to do? They smile back. Joy abounds in that moment, they've been receiving this unconditional love and value from Psalm one that you and I experienced that as adults, you've been in rooms where someone's walked in and called your name and they genuinely look at you and in the expression on their face. And the tone in their voice just says to you, man, I see you. And I love you. And I value you. And I'm so glad to get to hang out with you right now in this moment. And what happens in your spirit. Joy abounds, you smile back, you feel loved and respected. And you begin to experience this joy in your life. Because this person who you're in an unconditional loving relationship with, is expressing his love or her love to you that you don't even feel that even in other moments when it's not maybe so highlighted in that way. But maybe you're suffering and you're in pain, and you're crying and you're going through something that's really hard, but the same person that just called your name, and we just talked about the excitement in the joy, hey, it's glad to see you and all that just walks in quietly and softly and puts their arm around you or hold your hand and just sits beside you while you're struggling. And you're going through that it may not be the same type of emotions that explode in those other times, but deep down in the quietness of your heart and your spirit, what is abounding in that moment. Joy, you feel the joy even there, because this person is with you, and they are for you. And you know, it's unconditional, and you know that you have it. And so this is Emmanuel, this is God with us. Jesus was born into this world, not just to forgive our sins so that we can have eternal life and go to heaven. He was born in this world to die for our sins so that we could be forgiven, so he could now give his life to us. And now we can be in a relationship with the one who loves us unconditionally with the one who grabs our face and looks at us and says, I see you and I value you and you know what I did for you. And I just love you so much. And oh, just smile writing getting us to do that. And we get to be in this intimate relationship where we just smile back at his face, and the joy begins to abound because of who he is and whom we are in relationship with him. Sometimes it's even in the tough moments where Jesus is sitting there with you. And he is just saying, I'm with you in this, I'm for you in this and you have my joy, I'm not going anywhere. And there's this deep inner joy and peace that we have. Because if you have said yes to Jesus, a lot of times we spend a lot of our energy, trying to change our situations, trying to change our circumstances, thinking, if I can just begin to get here, if I can just start making this much money. If I can get to this point in my career, if we can finally have a baby, if I can finally get married, fill in the blank with whatever it is for you, then I'll finally begin to experience real joy in my life. If you are in union with Jesus Christ, you have his joy in you and your joy is complete. You will not have more joy when you get to one of those places. It's not possible complete is complete. It's just a matter of whether you're going to experience the joy that you already have. Or you're going to turn your attention away from all the bad all the worry all the things you're trying to control in your life and the things that you have to get to be at a certain point or the negative news that's out in the world and focus or do we renew our minds to Jesus? Do we look into his face, as we're told to Oh, over and over again, and that he is our joy, and just begin to receive what it is that we already have in him. I bring you tidings of great joy for all people. And it's Jesus, Jesus is your joy you have it, where you begin to experience and walk in it today, if you haven't, I hope that you will. But if you don't have it, it's available to you. But you do have to receive it. As we close look at verses 13 and 14 angels are, we're told Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying glory to God in the highest in heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor, rest, this peace, this joy is available to all people were told in the preceding verses, but it's, it's all available to all people through Jesus. But it only comes to those who will accept him who's who's who will receive his favorite into their lives, who will allow his favorite to rest on them. Were familiar with gifts this particular time of season, this is a gift Jesus wants to gift you His forgiveness, He wants to gift you joy into your life. But just like any gift that you receive around this Christmas time, it's something you have to take, it's something you have to open, you have to claim it. And this is the same thing with the gift that he offers you. It's for all people, no matter where you've been, no matter what you've done, it's just a matter once again, will you receive His forgiveness in what you receive His joy? Today, It's my prayer that you will. Let's pray. Father, thank you so much for what we see in your Word today. We're reminded of how humble the conditions were that Jesus, you, the creator of the universe, the Sustainer of the whole world were born into. God, we've seen today that this kingdom is unlike any kingdom that we try to make in our own worlds. We spent so much energy trying to build up our kingdoms, and it models the kingdoms of this world in our own lives, our own kingdom and our families and yet, your kingdom that is completely upside down. And we see that here. We see through the way that you moved Mary and Joseph from where they were to Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy that you're still sitting on the throne, that you're still moving things in a direction that you want them to go regardless of how things are going on in our world, and it appears to us. So we just declare for you in these moments we trust you. Bother for those of us who have said yes to you, we recognize and we see this morning that we have joy, our joy is complete. You fills us with it. To constant flow within us. We want to experience it we make ourselves available to you to just gaze upon you and be reminded that you are our joy that it's not our situations and circumstances that have to change. Allow us to experience it in our lives no matter what's going on. And father finally I pray for those who are here today who have never said yes to you. If they've been holding out thinking that they're too far gone, they've just done too much. They're invisible. You don't see them God I pray that you will continue to work and stirring our hearts and through what we saw today through the shepherds that they would know they are seen. You saw them. You saw they were valuable enough to make this announcement to them which shows us that we are valuable to you too. Would you continue to open up their hearts to receive the love that you have the forgiveness that you have the joy that you have for them to even in this moment. In Jesus name we pray amen.
There is a lot of bad news in our world – just check the news, social media, and virtually any other source! Does that mean that God is not in control? NO! Actually, God is so powerful that nothing can stop His plans and purposes! Despite the circumstances in the world, God brought us good news of great Joy with the birth of His son, Jesus!
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*This transcript was auto-generated by a transcription service and may differ from the originally spoken content*
Read Sermon Transcript Here
Well, if you have your Bible with you or a device with the Bible app on it, we're going to be in Luke, just like we have been the last few weeks. We're picking up into chapter one, verse 57. We've covered the first 56 verses over the last couple of weeks or so we're going to try to make it all the way through verse 80. Today, so we'll be starting in chapter one, verse 57. Before we do that, and when acknowledged the kids in the room were all my kids that say, Good morning, Pastor Baldo. Right, so glad that you guys are in here this morning. Thanks for joining us for worship, please help me try to keep your parents awake. During this time. Some of them have a tendency to kind of nod off, it's your job to keep them awake, make sure they're paying attention during this time. All right, chapter one of Luke, beginning of verse 57 says, when it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son, her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. So you may remember if you were here the last few weeks or you've read Luke's account of the Christmas story before that an angel had appeared to Zachariah Elizabeth's husband in their old age, and said that he was going to or God rather was going to miraculously blessed them with a child, she had been bearing her entire life. They've been praying longing for a child and the angel said it was finally going to happen. And we see here as Luke continues to pick up in the story that God did fulfill this particular promise that this baby was born. And of course, it caused great joy in their own lives. Their friends and family who were around were were celebrating and shared. 59 It says on the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child. And they were going to name him after his father's Zachariah. But his mother spoke up and said no, he is to be called John. Now you may remember as well that earlier in the chapter, this is what the angel had told them to name this baby that God was going to bless with them with that his name should be John. Of course, we're told by Luke that everybody around here just figured that they were going to name him after his father because that was customary during this particular day and age to name a child after their father or their grandfather. But she speaks up and says no, no, no, we're supposed to call him John, his name is John. And well, they begin to give him a hard time about that or her a hard time about that. Verse 60. Warren says they said to her, hey, there is no one among your relatives who has that name. For 62. Then they made signs to his father to find out what he would like to name the child. And he asked for a writing tablet. And to everyone's astonishment, Luke says he wrote his name is John. Now this is why most commentators we've touched on this a little bit last week believe that Zachariah was both death and Newt even though the angel had said that he wouldn't be able to speak because they said here that they had to make signs to his father. If someone can hear that's just kind of a strange thing to do, right? I mean, you just use words, right? But they're using signs to get his attention and try to figure out what it is that he would like to name him. And so he asks for a tablet, he writes his name as John and follows through being faithful to what the angel had told him to name the child. And then we're told something absolutely incredible happens in that moment. Verse 64, says, immediately, his mouth was open and his tongue set free. And he began to speak praising God, all the neighbors were filled with all Luke says, And throughout the hill country of Judea, people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this, wondered about it and asked, What then is this child going to be for the Lord's hand was with them people started to recognize God must be up to something because this isn't normal activity. I mean, they could see about 10 months earlier that that Zachariah had walked into the temple. And at that particular time, he can hear it that particular time he can talk he comes out of the place, and he can't do either one of those things. His wife gets miraculously pregnant in her old age after not having been able to have kids their entire life, this child is born and then all of a sudden, he starts to talk again. And so they're going this isn't normal activity. God must be up to something in all of this. What is he doing? Who is this child going to be? And what is this all about? And we get to see a little bit of that here in a moment in the way that Zachariah responds to all that is going on in this moment. Luke says in verse 67, his father's Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. And so we're told that Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit he was in dwelt by the Holy Spirit, and that he was being inspired by the Holy Spirit to, to sing these words. These were prophetic words, this was prophecy. This was a declaration that the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to speak about of what God was going to do in the future through the current events that were happening right now, in this particular moment. Now, you may have noticed that the very first thing that Zachariah begins to sing about even though we're told this is prophecy, and something that God is going to do in the future is written in past tense, the sun that's going to happen, but he writes about it as if it already happened. Praise me to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. Now, Jesus hasn't technically come as far as being fully born yet, but he has been conceived. And so in that sense, he has already come. And then we do see here that if God says that he's going to do something, and he's inspiring someone to write or sing about what's going to happen in the future, it's pretty much as good as done, because God is a faithful God, and he is going to follow through with his promises. And the promise here is about redemption, which means that through the cross, Jesus was going to purchase his people from bondage out of the bondage that they and really all of us were, or maybe are still in, because that's what it means to be redeemed to buy back, someone is in a position of slavery, they're trapped, they can't do anything about the situation they're in the purchase price for this particular captivity was his life, which Jesus, of course, was willing to give, we know that as we continue to read the rest of the story that Luke tells us about here. And so what we see is that Jesus was born into this world to die. Here he was born into this world to die, so that he could redeem His people and, and think about where people had to be where all of us are, if we have to be rescued in such a way. Think about the captivity and being in bondage where you're, you're trapped and in darkness, you're in change, there's there's nothing that you can do about it. Think about the emotions that come with that the anxiety that's there, the the fear, that's there, the worry, the absolute unrest that you have in your soul, because there's nothing that you can do about the situation that you're in, you're trapped, and you're going to be there most likely, forever. absolute lack of peace and unrest, and you can try all you want to control your situation, to manufacture peace in your life in that moment to do something about it, but there's just nothing that you can do. So this is great news, that Zachariah is saying that God through the birth of this son, and the one that would come is going to redeem His people is going to free people from the bondage in the captivity that they could not break themselves out of. He goes on in verse 69, it talks a little bit more about it. He says he has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he has said through his holy prophets have long ago now, a horn in the Old Testament was a symbol of power. You think about two rams who who have horns, right? And sometimes you see them both kind of backup, and then all of a sudden, they just start to charge and then they run into each other and they they collide in those horns. And in that moment, there's just this, this bang, this this power that you can hear and that you see and the impact that's being made in that moment. I read something this week, I assume it's true. Everything on the internet is true, right? I may be lying here, but I read something where someone said that that two rams colliding collide with 10 times the force of two human football players when they collide together. And you know, you and I have seen some pretty big hits probably on a football field or watching football on TV enough to make this kind of almost turn. Sometimes you go oh, man that looked like it hurt right? 10 times the force with those horns and rams coming in and bang. It's When we're seeing a horn of salvation, what would have gone off in the original audience's mind is power. This is one who is strong. This is one who is capable then strong enough and powerful enough to pull off what it is the Zachariah is seeing about that he will do He is powerful enough to actually redeem His people. Now this was talked about through the holy prophets of long ago, Zachariah even mentions here that this horn of salvation was going to be raised up from someone in the house of his servant David, which is pointing to the fact that Jesus would fulfill the Davidic Covenant, a symbol of power, this horn was a symbol of power that was even used for kings in the Old Testament. And so Zachariah is telling us that God is following through with this promise, this promise that he made hundreds of years earlier that this horn of salvation, was going to fulfill the Davidic Covenant and be the one who sits on the throne forever. To rule in terrain, he is a faithful, faithful God. So Zachariah mentions this horn of salvation that would show up and now he gets into the specifics of the kind of salvation that God would supply. Look at verse 71. First of all, he says, it's a salvation from our enemies of salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all, who hate us. Now, here's the thing about enemies. Enemies produce unrest in our lives. We go to war with enemies, and when you're at war, you don't ever rest. You're always at unrest, because you're always having to look over your shoulder for the one who might show up and jump out and attack you, right? So you don't ever get any rest. When you're at war. You have to constantly be looking out for your enemy, and what it is that they are going to do to you. As a matter of fact, if you try to sleep at war, you're going to sleep with one eye open, how much good sleep and rest Are you really going to get in a moment like that enemies produce unrest in our lives, but Zachariah is saying that the salvation this that this horn of salvation will supply will free them will free us from our enemies. Think about the peace that comes when you know your enemy has been taken care of. You no longer have to look over your shoulder, you no longer have to fear about them jumping out at you and attacking you. You no longer have to sleep with one eye open, you can close them both. And you can get deep, deep rest when your enemies have been taken care of. And this is the kind of salvation that Zachariah is saying, God would provide for you and for me. So that's the first thing he goes on in verse 72. It says that God would raise up a horn of salvation also to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father, Abraham, oh, what he's referring to here, what Zachariah is talking about is the the Abrahamic covenant that went even further back than the Davidic Covenant. We learned or can read about that in Genesis chapter 12, verse three verses say this, the Lord said to Abram, go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land, I will show you, I will make you God says into a great nation, and I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse and listen to this. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you. God had made a promise, a promise, a covenant to build a nation to build the nation Israel and through them to bless all people on Earth in Zacharias saying that there's horn of salvation is the one who would fulfill that covenant that all people on the earth would be blessed through him, the one raised up through this covenant nation, this or this nation, Israel that he had built. So this horn of salvation will supply salvation from our enemies in the hands of all who hate us to show mercy to our ancestors to remember his holy covenant, or 74. Also, to rescue us from the hand of our enemies and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days now That would be quite an accomplishment, right? I mean, God is the only one whose Holy God is the only one who is truly right. And so to show up in his presence should certainly call some fear should certainly call some unrest and a lack of peace in our lives to stand before a holy and a perfect God. You can't show up and serve in worship a holy in a right and adjust in a perfect God. So for a horn of salvation, to pull that off, where we can serve him without fear, and in holiness and righteousness. Now, that would be quite an accomplishment. And yet that is exactly what the writers of the New Testament say, happen through Jesus's death and his resurrection. That when we put our faith and trust in Him, that Jesus comes to and dwell us after completely forgiving us. And then we enter into this spiritual union, where we are made holy now in and we are made righteous, not just seen as holy in him, not just seen as righteous, but made holy in him and made righteous in him. So if you're made holy, and you're made right with God, then guess what you can do without fear. You can serve Him, you can worship Him, you can enjoy intimacy with Him, you no longer have to be at unrest. You can enjoy peace with him. Zachariah after seeing about Jesus and prophetically singing about him here, turns his attention to his own child. Now, verse 76, and says in you, my child will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. In other words, he says, John might son that's being born in this moment, you are going to be a great pointer, you are going to point to Jesus point everyone to Jesus as the way of salvation, and for the forgiveness of sins of all people. We'll even see this happening as John grows up. And as Jesus grows up, and he begins his earthly ministry, John, when he writes his gospel, in the first chapter, verse 29, says, John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Now, when you and I say, look to someone else, what do we do 99.9% of the time when we say that, we point right look, and we point at what we want them to look at. So John, the Baptist sees Jesus and says, Look at Jesus, the one who will take away the sins of the world. And so John the Baptist, Zacharias saying would be born to be a pointer to point to Jesus who through the cross, and his finished work on the cross, would provide forgiveness of sins to anyone, anyone, regardless of who they are, where they've been, what it is that they've done, if they'll just receive Him by faith. Now, the question is, why would a holy and perfect God allow his one and only Son, to go all through all of those things and give the salvation away as a gift and Zechariah tells us in the next verse, because of the tender mercy of our God, because of the tender mercy of our God tender mercy here refers to deep seated personal emotions, deep seated, personal feeling here, especially compassion. In other words, there is a deep seated personal compassion that the God of the universe has for you. Personal it applies to everyone. But it's personal, to you, and to me, and to each and every one of them and us. So it's the tender mercy and out of that tender mercy of God that He goes on in the verse for seven, eight and says, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven, to shine on those living in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. I don't know if you guys ever saw it or not. There was a movie that came out not too long ago about the Thai boys soccer team that got trapped in a cave. If you didn't see the movie, you know what I'm talking about. There's no way you missed the story of the 12 kids who got trapped in a cave they the 12 kids and their coach went into a cave after practice one day they were doing some hiking and exploring it in while they're in there, I mean, it starts to rain, and it starts to rain a lot, so much so that it gets flooded and they get trapped in there, two and a half miles into the cave. I mean, they are deep into the cave, and it's flooded and there is no way out, it's completely dark. And they cannot do anything about the situation that you're in. Can you imagine the fear, the worry, the anxiety, the stress, the absolute unrest, that these guys we're in, we're trapped. There's no way out. And we don't know for how long it if we're ever going to be able to get out of here. Nine days later, some divers showed up, they went through and found that I don't know how many hours it took them to get through there and work their way back. But they finally showed up and they see the boys and these divers when they show up. They they had light in their darkness, the divers had the proper equipment, and the divers even knew the way out, they could tell the boys how to get out, they could give them the right equipment, they could shine a light in the darkness to even help them to see where it was that they would have to go. The only problem was is there's no way that these kids, even with the help of a guide, an expert guide would be able to get out of the situation that they were in, because they were completely incapable of pulling off the tasks. Only expert divers could pull off what it is that they were doing. And so even with someone who could show them the way, tell them what to do provide the right equipment, these guys were completely helpless to carry out the tasks and so the divers came up with a plan and the plan was that they would put them to sleep, they would have an anesthesiologist give them a shot to be able to put them under. And then the divers, the expert divers while they were asleep would carry them out. And so all the boys would have to do in that moment was make themselves available to be rescued. And these expert divers would do all the work of guiding them to the path of peace. And one by one. That's exactly what these divers did, until they got out and were freed from the bondage in the captivity, the darkness that they were all in. Guys, that is you. And that is me. We are all trapped. He says in the darkness, nothing that we could do is ever referred to it as the shadow of death. Right? This is the situation that we're all in. And sometimes people may show up with us being trapped in the darkness. And they may try to point the way out. And they may try to tell us this is the right thing to do. And this is how to get yourself out of the situation that we're in. But the only problem is, is sometimes those people don't really know the truth and how to get out themselves. But even those that do, once again, you and I are completely incapable of pulling off the task of what they're telling us we have to do to be able to get out. And so God sends the rising sun from heaven, Zacharias says to those of us living in darkness and in the shadow of death, and he does the work for us. All you and I have to do is make ourselves available to him, and he will rescue us. And when you and I make ourselves available to him he he puts us to sleep, if you will. He puts all the right equipment on us. And He guides us. And when we wake up, we've come to peace. This all happens in the moment of faith where we're born again. The old us is put to sleep in dies and we're raised up as someone new were rescued from the darkness. The apostle Paul even says in Colossians one For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Sun he loves in whom we have redemption for the forgiveness of sins. When you put your faith and trust in Jesus. He rescues you from the shadow of death that all of us find ourselves in because of our sin the problem the Apostle Paul would even write in Ephesians 214 That for he himself referring to Jesus is our peace, the moment we get rescued from the dominion of darkness, the captivity that we are held in, we have peace, because peace is found in a person, and his name is Jesus. And if you and I have put our faith and trust in Him, then we are in union with the one who is peace himself. So regardless of your situations, regardless of your circumstances, this time of year or whatever you drag into this end of year that you've been dealing with all year long, that certainly gets heightened, we know the lows become even lower. During this time, the stress gets even stress, you're this time of year and the anxiety and everything gets cranked up. And there is a complete lack of peace and unrest. Sometimes we see here today through the prophetic words of Zachariah, that Jesus is the peace and that you and I have it regardless of the situations regardless of the circumstances that we're in, you can stop trying to manufacture peace in your life. You don't have to control your situations, you don't have to control your circumstances and get to a certain place in your life, where you'll finally experience peace because those things begin to change. Peace is found in a person. And if you're in union with Him, you don't have to manufacture it in your life. You have it in your life. My hope and prayer for you today and throughout the rest of this season, is it. If you have said yes to Jesus, and you're in union with Him, you would experience that super natural peace as you lean on Him and trust in Him to be your peace. And my prayer. For those of you who have never said yes to Jesus is that you would say yes to him, he entered into this world for you out of His love and His tender mercy and His compassion for you, to give you peace when you've been hunting and searching for it, probably for a lifetime. And so would you receive it today, in walk out of here, being able to rest, I hope that you will, let's pray. Father, we are so grateful for your son, that you allowed your one and only Son to leave the glory and riches of having to come here to be born into this world to suffer and die so that we could ultimately have peace with you. You've broken down all of the barriers through what you accomplished on the cross Jesus, you offer us your life. Many of us in this room have received it and we have peace and yet we are desperately trying to manipulate others and control others in our own situations and circumstances to manufacture some peace in our lives because we feel so at unrest. Would you renew our minds to the truth this morning that we have you and that we have peace in our lives, no matter what is going on around us. Allow us to experience your supernatural peace that we have in our union with you. My Father, I pray for those who are here today maybe watching online today you have never said yes to Jesus, you would continue to open up their hearts to receive you, maybe even now in this moment. And Father as our ushers come to take up this offering during our time of response we give freely and sacrificially and willingly and generously to you to further your kingdom work here in this church and all throughout our community. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.