The Gospel of Luke ~ Chapter 1:78-80 ~ The Advent of John the Baptist Pt. 4 – Zachariah’s Great Praise, Pt. 4 ~ For Sending the Sunrise for our Salvation ~ A Purpose for the Sunrise: To Give the Knowledge of Salvation ~ Another Purpose for the Sunrise: To Guide Us in the Way of Peace!

Vol. 18, No. 6 – February 10, 2019

2 10 19 - Luke 1 vs 78-80 The Word Advent of John the Baptist Pt 4 Zachariahs great praise Pt 4The Gospel of Luke
Chapter 1
Verses 78-80

d. Praise to God for the coming of “the Sunrise,” the giving of the Messiah, vs. 78-79.

Vs. 78

Luke 1:78, “Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us.”

This verse begins the new segment but continues the praise of Zachariah regarding his son with the explanation as to the why and how salvation will come; “because of,” the Accusative Preposition DIA, “the tender mercy of our God,” SPLANCHNON ELEOS HEMEIS THEOS.

SPLANCHNON, σπλάγχνον is a Noun that literally means, “inward parts, intestines, heart, etc.” and figuratively for, “heart, affections, emotions, etc.” It is considered the seat of the emotions, hence, the figurative use means here “compassionate.”

This is the first time it is used in the NT, and the only time Luke uses it in his gospel. He uses it once more in Acts 1:18, literally for Judas Iscariot’s intestines that gush out when he fell off the cliff after hanging himself. It is used 9 other times in the NT for the figurative use of affection, compassion, or emotions as it is in our verse. By itself, it can be translated “mercy,” but here it qualifies God’s mercy.

SPLANCHNON is linked with ELEOS, “mercy,” that we have seen throughout these doxologies, to qualify and emphasize God’s love toward us in providing salvation through His Son. We call this an anthropopathism, which means ascribing to God a human emotion, i.e., “compassion, affection, etc.” God does not have emotions like we do. But to understand God’s intense love for us, sometimes human emotions are ascribe to Him, so that we can better understand Him and His actions. This is one of those times. As such, the forgiveness that would be offered by John was to be based in the affectionate (compassionate or loving) mercy of God.

Psa 103:11, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His mercy (lovingkindness) toward those who fear Him.”

The only reason anyone is ever forgiven of sin is because of God’s great mercy. You cannot earn forgiveness. You cannot demand forgiveness. You cannot swap forgiveness with a trade. There would be no peace in salvation if we had to earn, demand, or buy forgiveness. We would only worry if we had done enough, if we were strong enough, or if we had paid enough. Forgiveness comes only by mercy. Which means forgiveness is free and undeserved. The only step we can take to find forgiveness with God is to ask for it.

Because of God’s intense love shown by His “affectionate mercy,” He is sending His Son into the World to redeem the sins of mankind. That is what the next phrase tells us, “with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,” EN HOS ANATOLE EK HUPSOS EPISKEPTOMAI HEMEIS.

In the Greek, “will visit us,” EPISKEPTOMAI HEMEIS, comes first, which we have seen previously in vs. 68. There, it was the Aorist simple past tense. Here, it is in the Future, Middle Deponent, Indicative for what was going to occur subsequent to the time of Zachariah’s psalm of praise. Later translations use the Aorist here, but the earliest and most reliable have the Future tense. Therefore, in the future, the near future, there will be, “the Sunrise from on high.” Previously, the visitation had to do with God’s inspection of man and finding him wanting due to our sin. Here, it is the result of God’s mercy towards us because we were wanting because of our sin. Because of our need, God’s mercy would send a Savior, His own Son, into the world.

From on high,” is the Preposition EK, “from,” and the Noun HUPSOS that reminds us of the “Most High” language, (the Adjective HUPSISTOS), from vs. 32, 35, 76, that extoled God as the one and only Sovereign God. HUPSOS, “height,” is only used here and in Luke 24:49; Eph 3:18; 4:8; James 1:9; Rev 21:16. Figuratively, it refers to the concept of “royalty, dignity, grandeur, etc.”, and to “the realm of God,” i.e., “heaven.” Therefore, it is a reference to the Messiah’s heavenly origin and His coming from God. They are one and the same.

Eph 4:8, “Therefore it says, ‘When He (Jesus) ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men’.”

Luke 24:49, “And behold, I (Jesus) am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Now, the visitor is classified as “the Sunrise,” the anarthrous use of the Noun ANATOLE, ἀνατολή that means, “rising (of a star), rising (of the sun), ascent, or east.” It is used 10 times in the NT, Mat 2:1, 2, 9; 8:11; 24:27; Luke 1:78; 13:29; Rev 7:2; 16:12; 21:13. In 9 out of the 10 usages, it stands for the location or direction of the sunrise, “east.” Our verse is the one exception and is used literally for “a Sun-rising,” from the heights of heaven. But even here, it is figurative, because it is speaking about the “Savior,” our Lord Jesus Christ. Older English translations use “dawn or dayspring” here, because it refers to that region or those parts of heaven or earth where the solar light first springs up and appears, the east. Therefore, it is called the dayspring, dawn, or the rising sun.

Interestingly, the Septuagint, LXX, the Hebrew OT translated into Greek well before the NT was written, used ANATOLE in Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12, for the figurative use of the Hebrew word TSEMACH that means, “branch or shoot,” which speaks of David’s offspring, our Lord Jesus Christ, cf. Isa 11:1-10. Therefore, we have a “tie-in” to the Davidic covenant being fulfilled by the “Sunrise,” the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jer 23:5, “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land’.”

Jer 33:15,  “In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.”

Isa 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”

Isa 11:10, “Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.”

Now, as you know, our literal sun is simply a star, and Jesus Christ is called throughout the Bible the “Morning Star,” 2 Peter 1:19; Rev 22:16, which is also the sun that rises every morning in the east. So, “Sunrise” is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Balaam prophesied in Num 24:17, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth.”

Notice also, that in the encampment around the Tabernacle, to the east was the tribe of Judah, the tribe of Jesus Christ, Num 2:3.

Num 2:3, “Now those who camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah, by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Judah: Nahshon the son of Amminadab.”

As well as Moses and Aaron’s to “performing the duties of the sanctuary for the obligation of the sons of Israel,” Num 3:38.

Jesus said to the apostle John in Rev 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

Peter stated in 2 Peter 1:19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”

The Magi who were looking for the child born said in Mat 2:2, 9, 10, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

Mat 2:9, “After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was.

Mat 2:10, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”

In addition, after Jesus’ resurrection, the woman came at “sun rise” and found the tomb empty, Mark 16:2.

Finally, the “morning star” is a reward the positive believer will receive in memorial to his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, Rev 2:28, “I will give him the morning star,” as it was an emblem Satan once wore prior to his fall, Isa 14:12.

Therefore, “Sunrise,” is a Messianic reference and Zachariah’s praise appears to be an allusion to a prediction of Malachi, in which Christ is called “the Sun of Righteousness,” and is said to “arise with healing in his wing,” Mal 4:2, that is, to bring health in His rays.

Mal 4:2, “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”

We see this allusion in many other Old and New Testament passages including, 2 Sam 23:3-4; Isa 9:2; 30:26; 60:1-3, 19-20; Psa 19:4-5; 84:11; Mat 4:16; Luke 2:31; John 1:4; 8:12; Rev 21:23.

2 Sam 23:3-4, “The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me, ‘He who rules over men righteously, Who rules in the fear of God, 4is as the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, Through sunshine after rain.”

Isa 9:2, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”

In a Messianic prophecy, Isaiah stated in Isa 30:26, “The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.”

Isa 60:1-3, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. 3Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

Psa 84:11, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Luke 2:32, “A light of revelation to the gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

John 1:4, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” Cf. John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46. 

John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’.”  

Mat 4:16, “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned.”

Rev 21:23, “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

Christ’s coming was the dawn of a new day for Israel and for mankind, as salvation had now come to the world through the person and work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, which leads us to our next verse.

Vs. 79

Luke 1:79, “To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

In this passage, we have two more Infinitive of Purpose phrases regarding the “Sunrise.”

It uses a beautiful quotation from Isa 9:2 and 60:1-3, to carry forward the imagery of the dawning light (the Sunrise) and to offer hope of peace to those who were then outside the faithful remnant of Judaism, cf. Eph 2:12, read vs. 11-22.

The first purpose of the “Sunrise” is “To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.”

The first half is taken from Isa 9:2, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them,” and Psa 107:10, “There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains.”

The prophecy of Isa 9:1-2, is directly quoted in Mat 4:15-16, in fulfillment, that Jesus would come from Zebulun, the land of Naptali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. Zebulun and Naphtali came under the yoke of Assyria, 2 Kings 15:29. But Christ would later live and minister in Galilee, which is the same geographical area.

Mat 4:12-15, “Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: 15‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles’.” 

Mat 4:16, “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned.”

This also reminds us of Eph 5:8, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.”

Then, we see the prophecy in Isa 60:1-3, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. 3Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

To shine upon,” is the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of Result Verb EPIPHAINO, ἐπιφαίνω that means, “to appear, dawn upon, bring to light, become visible, known, etc.” It is used four times in Scripture, Acts 27:20; Titus 2:11; 3:4.

It is used literally for the light of the sun and stars in Acts, and figuratively for the grace and love (mercy) of God becoming visible to those who were in darkness in Titus, as it is in our verse. Therefore, it means the giving of knowledge or information in a poetical way, which tells of the ministry of John the Baptist, “to give the knowledge of salvation,” vs. 77.

In addition, the noun EPIPHANEIA, is used for the First Advent of Jesus in 2 Tim 1:10; 4:8, and for His Second Advent in 2 Thes 2:8; 1 Tim 6:14; 2; Tim 4:1; Titus 2:13.

Who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,” in the Present, Middle Deponent, Participle of KATHEMAI, “sit, stay, settle, or reside,” with EN SKOTOS KAI SKIA THANATOS.

In classical writings, “darkness,” SKOTOS, typically implied the inability to see and thus the inability to know how to walk. Metaphorically, “darkness” denotes “ignorance or obscurity,” and is used to describe the human condition or behavior, especially that of unbelief. From this, “darkness” implied a sense of anxiety or apprehension of what lay ahead. Therefore, sitting in darkness and its ominous character became linked to the ultimate anxiety, “death,” THANATOS, cf. Psa 143:3.

Psa 143:3, “For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead.”

Therefore, it means, “residing in ignorance,” that is, not knowing that they are spiritually dead.

SKOTOS is also used to describe how all men are being negatively influenced by Satan and his cosmic system as the principalities, (the rulers, powers, and world forces of “darkness,” along with the spiritual forces of wickedness), are aligned against us in Eph 6:12.

Eph 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

In Jesus’ commission to Paul, He stated Paul’s mission in Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me’.”

And the Light, Jesus Christ, has come into the world to save us from Satan’s dominion of sin, Col 1:13-14.

Col 1:13-14, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Shadow of death,” is found in the famous Psalm, Psa 23:4, for “walking through the valley of the shadow of death,” that speaks of the trials and tribulations of life, and presents the realities of the devout life under the image of the Divine Shepherd and His Lamb, who is the Light come into the world, cf. John 8:12; 9:5.

John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’.” 

John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 

The valley of the shadow is not death itself, it is the world where death reigns by sin, Psa 107:10.

Psa 107:10, “There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains.”

The death shadowed valley also speaks to the OT description of salvation from it in, Psa 107:14; 86:13.

Psa 107:14, “He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke their bands apart.”

Psa 86:13, “For Your lovingkindness toward me is great, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

Shadow,” SKIA, is used figuratively for that which is close to being like something else. In this case, it is close to being like “death,” and “shadow of death,” is synonymous with “sitting in darkness.” It is used for the state of unbelief and rejection of God in our verse; having no spiritual life with God.

That was the condition of the world when Zachariah spoke these words. And that is the condition of a large part of the world today, and that is why we are entrusted to send the gospel out to the very ends of the earth, that men and women everywhere may hear it, so that it may give light to those in darkness, in the very shadow of death.

Although the Fall of Adam brought death into the creation, Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the world. The death of Jesus means victory over sin and death to those who believe in Him. Through His spiritual death on the Cross, Christ has created the certainty of eternal life for anyone who receives Him, John 3:16. Therefore, to shine upon those who “sit in darkness and the shadow of death” means to bring them salvation, Eph 2:1, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,… 5Even when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” Therefore, “to shine upon those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death,” is to bring salvation to their lives.

Isa 42:6-7, “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, 7to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”

Micah 7:8, “Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.”

“Zachariah points out the wretched state in which the inhabitants of Judea and the Gentile world were then found.

  1. Their feet had wandered out of the way of peace, (Luke 1:79), of temporal and spiritual prosperity.
  2. They had got into a state of darkness—they were blind concerning the things of God, and the things which belonged to their salvation.
  3. They had become contented inhabitants of this land of intellectual darkness—they had sat down in it, and were not concerned to get out of it.
  4. They were about to perish in it—death had his dominion there; and his swift approaches to them were now manifested to the prophet by seeing his shadow cast upon them.

Ignorance of God and salvation is the shadow of death; and the substance, eternal ruin, is essentially connected with the projected shadow.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary.)

The ones who sit in darkness and the shadow do not know the peace of God, Isa 59:8, “They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; they have made their paths crooked, whoever treads on them does not know peace.”

Yet, God has sent His Son, so that our darkness can be illuminated and peace be known. Therefore, through the mercy of God, we receive light. The light is Christ Himself. He is the Sunrise. In our sin, we sit in darkness like a prisoner locked in an underground dungeon. But when Christ comes into our hearts, He brings light. All of a sudden everything shines, darkness flees, and death is defeated.

The second purpose of the Sunrise is “to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

This is an allusion from Psa 5:8, “O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; make Your way straight before me.”  

To guide our feet” is HO KATEUTHUNO HO POUS HEMIES, which uses the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of Purpose for the Verb KATEUTHUNO, κατευθύνω that means, “direct, guide, lead.” It comes from the Greek Preposition KATA, “according to,” and the Adjective EUTHUS that comes from ORTHOS that both mean, “straight, right, upright, or straight way,” cf. Mat 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4-5, for John’s ministry as forerunner for the Lord.

In classical Greek it meant, “keep straight or make straight,” and as a noun it was used for a “carpenter’s line.” Interestingly, Jesus was the son of a carpenter, Mat 13:55; Mark 6:3; and reminds us of Psa 19:4-5.

Psa 19:4-5, “Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 5which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.”

Gradually, the idea of “making something straight” shifted to the idea of “directing someone to something,” and included a sense of “success” or “prospering” in the process. It is only used here and in 1 Thes 3:11; 2 Thes 3:5.

1 Thes 3:11, “Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you.”

2 Thes 3:5, “May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.”

This analogy of “being in darkness and directed to peace,” is taken from travelers, who being overtaken by night do not know what to do, and therefore wait patiently for the morning light, that they may know which way to go. Then, when the sun rises in their heart, they know the way, as light shines brightly their way, and the road is open to the promised land of rest, to heaven itself.

This guidance leads, “into the way of peace,” EIS HODOS EIRENE. EIRENE means, “peace, harmony, tranquility, or health.”

“The way of peace,” is to be seen in the Old Testament concept of SHALOM, i.e., “the cosmic harmony that exists where the world and all its inhabitants are reconciled with God. Israel described this state with its concept of covenant…. The qualities… are variously described as prosperity, peace, and righteousness, which taken together begin to describe SHALOM,” (Hanson, p. 3, note 2).” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)

Here, “peace” is peace with God, who we were at enmity with prior to our salvation because of our sin. Because of sin, (i.e., sitting in darkness and shadow of death,) Jesus Christ, the Sunrise / Morning Light, came into the world to shine upon us, (i.e., redeem our sins and give those who would believe in Him salvation with its eternal inheritance), thereby abolishing the enmity / sin, Eph 2:14-16, and giving us a new life in Christ with God the Father.

Eph 2:14-16, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15By abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”

So, this “peace” means that the barrier of sin that kept us in darkness and the shadow of death has been removed by the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, especially for those who believe.

This “way of peace” is not known or found in the world or in worldly things, Isa 59:8, but in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Isa 59:8, “They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; they have made their paths crooked, whoever treads on them does not know peace.”

And, after our salvation, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Phil 4:7. 

Therefore, the peace into which He guides the feet of His own includes all the rich blessings that come to those whose sins are forgiven. The former enmity on our part is removed; thus there is peace with God, Rom 5:1.

Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Yet, there is also the sense of Phil 4:6-9, for He guides our feet into the way of peace, so that we not only enjoy peace with God, but now, knowing the God of peace, the peace of God guards our hearts in our daily walk with Him.

In addition, though Zachariah was using political terms and the prophecies in the OT of eternal peace, this is first speaking of peace with God overcoming sin and then peace in government relationships that will have their total fulfillment in the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ and the New Earth where righteousness lives, 2 Peter 3:13-14.

2 Peter 3:13-14, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 14Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”

Thus, this peace corresponds to the language of the OT; as peace is also the consummation of the eschatological salvation, Isa 60:19-20.

Isa 60:19, “No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. 20Your sun will no longer set, nor will your moon wane; for you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be over.” 

Therefore, Zachariah highlighted the ministry of the coming One in terms of salvation, forgiveness, mercy, guidance, and eternal peace.

John the Baptist was to go before the Lord to proclaim the testimony God had given, in order to guide the feet of the people into the way of peace, which is the knowledge of salvation found in the Sunrise. This metaphor implies more than that, as it speaks to us of the special guidance the Light of Christ is to each individual soul to guide our feet and illumine our path in special manifestations of our duty and life’s pilgrimage.

Only those who walk in Christ’s footsteps have quiet hearts and are at amity with God; in harmony and peace with ourselves, our friends, and the circumstances of life. That means there is no strife within, no strained relations or hostile alienation to God, no gnawing unrest of unsatisfied desires, and no injuries of accusing conscience, because the man who puts his hand into Christ’s hand and says, “Order my footsteps by Your Word,”  “Where You go, I will go,” and “What You command I will do,” has this peace.

The mission of the Messiah is about giving people peace before God, as He leads them from death to life. The servant of God who lives that and knows that, points others who are residing in darkness and the shadow of death to Christ by showing them the way of peace.

“The question remains before us: How do we define life? Is it in power and in the ability to “take control,” or is it in following the one who is in control? The text leaves no doubt that we should follow the one who is the source of light. The only road to righteousness and peace, even for a righteous man like Zachariah, is to be prepared to see the light and follow it. The text raises the question and answers it with notes of praise. See the morning star, Jesus, and follow the light in the way of peace. What precisely that pathway involves is the rest of this Gospel’s story, for which this hymn serves as a guiding introduction. In a real sense, the application of this text is found in the entirety of this Gospel’s message.” (NIV Application Commentary.)


Zachariah, the old priest, had not said anything for nine plus months, but when he regained his speech at the birth of his son, he certainly compensated for his silence when he sang this song of praise to God! How joyful he was that his son was chosen by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. In reviewing Zachariah’s prophecy, many key notes of Luke’s theology are seen:

  1. The focus on the praise of God.
  2. The importance of the Christ event, (God “has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David,” vs. 69).
  3. The fulfillment of God’s promises given through the holy prophets.
  4. The realization of the covenant made with Abraham being fulfilled.
  5. The deliverance from enemies, (sin being the #1 enemy), by the gracious intervention of God.
  6. The special role of his son, John the Baptist, in announcing the coming of the Messiah.
  7. The new opportunity to serve God forever in peace, without fear, in holiness and righteousness.

As such, the “way of peace” refers to an entire life of peace. Salvation brings peace: peace with God, peace with man, and peace within ourselves. Do you have this peace? Has the Sunrise dawned in your soul yet?

John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’.”

Vs. 80

Luke 1:80, “And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” 

This first chapter of Luke ends with a summary statement about John that will later be matched by a summary statement about Jesus, cf. Luke 2:52.

Continued to grow,” is the Imperfect, for ongoing action, Active, Indicative, of the Verb AUXANO αὐξάνω that means, “grow, increase, or become greater.” It is also used for Jesus in Luke 2:40, after His circumcision account.

Becoming strong in spirit,” is the Imperfect, Passive, Indicative of the Verb KRATAIOO, κραταιόω that means, “to strengthen, become strong, empower,” with the Dative Noun PNEUMA, “spirit.”  KRATAIOO is only used here and in Luke 2:40, for Jesus, and 1 Cor 16:13; Eph 3:16, regarding our spiritual growth.

Eph 3:16, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.”

Combined, they mean John the Baptist took in the Word of God, Bible Doctrine, and grew to spiritual adulthood, while he grew physically to human adulthood. This phrase may also allude to the fulfillment of the promise made to Zechariah in vs. 15.

He lived in the deserts,” uses the Pronominal Adjective EREMOS that means, “desolate, abandoned, desert, or solitary (place).” Though it literally means desert or wilderness, it is mostly used in the NT for a solitary place. It is predominately used in the synoptic gospels and in Acts 1:20; 8:26; Gal 4:27. So, for John, we could take this literally, but more importantly understanding it as, “being alone with God, to teach and train him.” This was in fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isa 40:3, as noted in Luke 3:4.

Isa 40:3, “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God’.”

Luke 3:4, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight’.”

In Luke 3:4, “straight” comes from EUTHUS that we noted above in vs. 79, that means, “straight, right, upright, or straight way,” cf. Mat 3:3; Mark 1:3, for John’s ministry paving the way as forerunner for the Lord.

Taking EREMOS literally, based on John’s parents being old when he was born, it is likely that they died before he was an adult. Therefore, he apparently grew up in the wilderness of Judea, cf. Mat 3:1, located between the Dead Sea and Jerusalem, probably in the general vicinity of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.

Mat 3:1, “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying…”

“Some scholars have attempted to establish that John was a member of the ascetic Jewish sect called the Essenes who lived in the same hill country of Judea. While certain aspects of John’s message are similar to those of the Essenes (e.g., eschatological emphasis and practice of ritual washings), and while it is possible John grew up near the area of Qumran, it is doubtful that he was a member of the Essenes, though he may have known of them and may even have been influenced by their teaching.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.) 

In vs. 80, “until the day of his public appearance to Israel,” uses a hapaxlegomena for “public appearance,” which is the Noun ANADEIXIS, ἀνάδειξις that means, “a public announcing or installation.”

Though we could render this literally as a “public appearance,” it is better to think of it as his commissioning, appointment, or installation as a prophet when he began his visible and public ministry as forerunner of the Christ. The emphasis would fall upon John’s being officially “appointed” by God as the Messianic forerunner. In any case, it represents the time frame from John’s circumcision to the beginning of his ministry, some 25-28 years.

To Israel,” indicates the scope of John’s ministry, to God’s chosen people primarily, even though he might have influenced other gentiles.

So, Luke ends his narrative of the early life of John in a way similar to the way he concludes the narrative of Jesus’ early life, Luke 2:52, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” This should be the narrative of our lives too!

“Our minds are naturally curious and there are a great many things of which we have no record in the Gospels concerning which we would like information. We would like to know something of the training of this child. We would like to be permitted to look behind the scenes and see something of the home-life of John the Baptist as a little child and as a youth growing up. We would like to know what led him, eventually, into the wilderness, and how God spoke to him. But the Lord has not been pleased to gratify our curiosity in regard to these things. He tells us all that is important for us to know, and the rest He leaves. We shall find them out by-and-by when we get home to heaven.” (H.A. Ironside Expository Commentary.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:

#19-011 & 19-012 & 19-013

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

Leave a Reply