Breaking the Silence
For many of us, silence can be uncomfortable. Your small group is praying, but no one picks up and prays next. 30, 40 seconds go by…and feel like forever. How about those times you’ve prayed earnestly about something and all it feels like you’re getting in return in silence from heaven?
Now imagine that silence lasting 400 years. After 400 years, God breaks his silence and speaks to an aging priest named Zechariah to tell him that Christmas is coming. Zechariah can’t bring himself to believe God’s words. His fears, losses and disappointments have been too great. Yet over time a transformation comes over him. By fixing his gaze on Jesus’s arrival, God turns him from a man of fear to a man of faith. Zechariah has a story to tell. He writes down a song to express his renewed faith in God and his Son Jesus Christ, and his song is found in Luke 1:67-80.
Zechariah’s Song, the Benedictus
Zechariah’s song, known as the Benedictus, from its first word in Latin, is one of four songs included in the Christmas story as told by Luke. In December we’re looking at The Songs of Advent. As God did for them, he can put a song in our hearts as we see all that we have in Christ.
(1) Don’t be afraid of silence from God.
For 400 years God was silent and did not respond to his people. For most of a lifetime, God was silent and did not respond to Elisabeth and Zechariah’s heart cry for a son. Does this mean God had forgotten them? That he had abandoned them? That he was doing nothing for them?
Not at all. All that time God was gearing up to do greater works for them than they could even comprehend. He was preparing an answer to their prayers. He was preparing an answer to their greatest needs. Let us learn to wait on God. Even when he seems to be silent in our lives, God is at work.
(2) Fear gives way to faith when we see Jesus clearly in view.
Until Zechariah fixed his eyes on Christ, his view was muddled and hazy. Why was God being unkind and refusing their prayers? Where was God? He seemed to have gone away. But then, he sees Jesus clearly in God’s words. He is a man transformed. His doubts and fears are overcome by faith in God.
In the end, Zechariah’s song isn’t really focused on his son John the Baptist, but on the One his son would point to–the Lord Jesus. Zechariah is no longer fixated on what he wishes for the most–a son. His heart is fixed on the One he needs the most–God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
A summary of the sermon is included because the audio for this talk was not recorded.