By Kevin Ivy
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Tullahoma
The only hope for the world is that Jesus Christ has been born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, atoned for our sin, resurrected from the grave, ascended into heaven, and has promised to return. As believers, we are often guilty of not giving this good news much thought. It is good to consider why Jesus came. First, Jesus came to redeem His people from their enemies (vv. 68-71). Zechariah blesses the God of Israel for visiting them. For the Jews of Zechariah’s day, this was the news of the century. God had not spoken since the days of the prophet Malachi. Now, God had visited His people after roughly 400 years of silence. This was big news! Not only did God visit His people, but He announced that He had provided the redemption for them that they had been waiting on since Genesis 3. Many Jews were hoping for a military political figure who would redeem them physically from their earthly enemies. Jesus however, came to save from a much greater enemy; a spiritual one.
Jesus Christ came to redeem us, not only from our enemies, but also from fear (Luke 1:72-75). God was keeping His promise to Abraham (Genesis 22:16ff) to rescue, or redeem the people so that they might serve Him without fear. This truth is reiterated in the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 2:14-16). We learn that Christ took on flesh and blood to identify with His children, so that ultimately, He might experience death. Why would He be compelled to experience death? According to Hebrews, Christ came to earth in order to go through death so that He might remove all power from the one who had the power of death. Who has this power? The one who has the power of death is the devil. And what happens when Christ suffers death and renders powerless the devil, who had the power of death? He frees those who, through fear of death, were subject to slavery all their lives. In other words, fallen humans are kept in bondage by Satan through their fear of dying. Christ came to remove Satan’s power by removing our fear of death. If our fear of death is removed, there is nothing and no one that can frighten us, or hold us captive. Jesus came to redeem us from fear.
Finally, Jesus came to redeem us from sin (Luke 1:76-79). John the Baptist was referred to as the prophet of the Most High God who would go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him. The Lord would come to forgive sin and be like a sunrise from on high to shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Malachi prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and the coming of this sunrise (Malachi 4:2-3). From Malachi’s prophecy we know that this coming sunrise would be from a righteous sun. This sunrise would bring healing in its wings. This sunrise would bring more joy than calves experience when released from their stall. Jesus Christ is that sun. He is righteous, and makes us righteous. He brings healing as the great physician and the medicine. He is the one who sets us free from our bondage to sin so that we can have joy and freedom in Him. Jesus came to save us from our sin (Matthew 1:21) so that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Do you really know Him?