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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.
78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, 79 TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1:79 is quoted from the Old Testament prophecy found in Isaiah 9:2, describing not the sunrise itself but the scene following the sunrise: a slow, yet increasing, penetration of the light into every shadow of darkness.
These words remind us of God’s purposes to reach the ends of the world. Some nations, earlier on, received the Light and responded, others, where the Light has not yet penetrated even for many years, sit in darkness. But even now the Light is beginning to shine into them. I am amazed at places where there was no Gospel, the declaration of Christ’s coming and purpose, preached thirty or forty years ago, but now has been. 300 pastors, representing thousands of believers are now in that one dark spot. Why? The Sunrise has finally shined over that region.
This not only speaks of God’s extended mission to shine in every part of the globe, but in its thorough transformation. I am sure we all have experienced this. How I delight on a frigid day where ice has formed over my windshield when the sun finally reaches my vehicle. What happens? You know. The ice melts and the car actually becomes warm!
What a picture of what happens to our lives when the Sun not only near us but reaches around the corner and penetrates our cold lives! Has God’s love been revealed to you in Christ? Has the selfishness of your cold heart been removed and replaced with the warm light from His heart of love? Christ has not only come, but has come with a mission to reach all the nations and your own lives!
So we have seen the entry, extension and energy of this Light. The Light has come and people look up with hope that good change, hope, is coming. Though creation, prophesies and Christmas God is calling us to respond to His Light. Just as every day orients itself around the sun, so our lives, families and nations ought to do so.
Let us try to better understand the meaning of this Light.
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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988