December 24, 2016
READ: Luke 1:67-79
We have been rescued . . . so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live (vv.74-75).
Two passages in Luke 1 are often called “songs” because of their similarity to the Old Testament psalms. The Magnificat of Mary (Luke 1:46-55) is well known. But the “Benedictus” (vv.67-79), which is taken from blessed or praise, the first word in the Latin translation, is less known. Filled with Old Testament quotations and allusions, the Benedictus speaks of the work of the Messiah and the work of His messenger (vv.69,80).
The opening and closing verses of this song of praise tell of the God who came for a visit. We’re called to “praise the Lord . . . because he has visited . . . his people” (v.68), and because “the Dayspring from on high has visited us” (v.78 nkjv).
Why did God visit us? We were in deep trouble, and He came to save us. “He has . . . redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior” (vv.68-69). That’s what Christmas is all about. God saved us, not because of anything we’ve done, but because of His mercy (vv.72,78). Our “salvation [is] through forgiveness of [our] sins” (v.77).
Why did God save us? We’re saved so that “we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness” and live purposeful and holy lives (vv.74-75). He came that we might live out His new creational ways, joining Him in building His kingdom on earth.
When God came for a visit, the Jews didn’t welcome Him. Jesus rebuked them because they didn’t accept Him and their opportunity for salvation (Luke 19:44).
Today, the same divine Visitor comes and knocks at the door of your heart. And He isn’t seeking a short visit. He wants to take up residence in your heart and make it His home (1 John 3:24, 4:15). Will you open the door and let Jesus in?
—K. T. Sim
365-day plan: 2 Peter 1:2-21
Read Ephesians 2:8-10 to see why God has provided salvation for you.
Have you opened the door to Jesus so He can come and live with you? What does it mean to have the divine Visitor dwell within you?