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Paul J. Bucknell
Purpose of Luke 1:76-80
Luke 1:76-80 serves as an introduction of Christ’s birth and mission given to John the Baptist’s parents where we first catch a glimpse of how that Light, a symbol of hope and truth, enters the world and successfully combats the forms of darkness.
So let’s look at how this passage introduces, defines hope, and ushers in this hope.
A) Images of Light and Hope (Luke 1:78-79)
B) The Meaning of Light (Luke 1:79)
C) The Light and Hope of Christmas (Lu 1:77-78)
77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, 78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us (Luke 1:77-78).
Christmas is full of images of light because they powerfully touch on the hope that we gain when released from oppressive darkness which what happened when Jesus came.
A special star guided distance truth-seekers to Christ’s birthplace.
Angels, in dazzling robes, sung and declared Christ’s birth.
“An angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9). This was at night (Lu 2:8) and saw the startling contrast was awesome. Then a host of others angels appeared with the one (Lu 2:13-14).
What do the scriptures say? “To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us” (Lu 1:77-78). Here are four points.
Jesus is the Sunrise and the Light. What can this mean but that wherever we have confusion, hopelessness, despair, darkness, depression, Jesus can come in and shine. As the sun comes up, everything looks different. In fact, one wonders if one can really see in darkness at all
Jesus really has come into the world. This is not just a remote historical event. God assembled these improbable and impossible events: the physical world (the star that led the Magi), government events (the family tax), the spiritual world (angels singing) and of course the birth itself (which is not easily controlled!), right where and when the many prophecies from of old came to fulfillment in Bethlehem.
God uses light to show the hope in the world through His Son Jesus Christ for He would give “His people the knowledge of salvation.” There are many religions but only one Savior. There are many sources of knowledge but only one leads to Salvation-the Gospel. These compelling events forms part of the process the Lord affirms the reliability of this claim to be truth.
How? “The forgiveness of their sins” (1:77). Religions, and even wrong forms of Christianity, stress using merit to somehow gain salvation. Clearly, the message is about forgiveness. Granted, it does not speak here how we can get forgiveness, but this would lead to the wiping away of our sins–not through merit, not through money, not even by becoming a Jew or belong to some race or clan, but only through faith in Christ who died on the cross for “the forgiveness of their sins.” Jesus was born to die. He is the only means by which He could have us escaped God’s awful wrath. He would bear God’s wrath for us.
We have all sinned and need forgiveness, otherwise, the wrath of God will come upon us. But believe in Jesus. Trust Him to get rid of all of your sins for it is here that the Sun will begin to shine in your life.
(Includes slides, full article, audio and video of this series as well as all our NT resources!
Why? “Because of the tender mercy of our God” (1:78). You might wonder why God does this. The reason given here is simple–His mercy. God delays judgment so that at the right time He might send His Son to die on the cross for our sins. This is mercy. He prolongs the end of the world just so He can save more.
Open your heart to God’s daily and yearly (Christmas) reminders of light by responding to Him and His hope.
Though darkness can seem overwhelming, His power of light and hope are greater.
Hope begins with Christ because forgiveness and salvation is alone found in Jesus, leading to genuine joy, love and peace.
This Luke 1:76-89 series ends here but:
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988