Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 16
Thesis: God's method of getting people ready for the Highway of Peace is to sensitize them to His Word.
Introduction: As we have considered the words of Zacharias in Luke 1:68-75, we have seen that the larger focus is upon that aspect of salvation that has to do with deliverance unto a life of service before the Lord in holiness and righteousness. In our last study we raised this question: Why, since that is God's reason for saving us, is it that few of us (if any) actually spend our days serving Him in holiness and righteousness? We argued that the answer lies in the reality of the need for a rather long-term process of getting us ready for His service. Much more could be said about that, but, this morning, we are going to go further into Zacharias' words as he turns his attention to his newborn son. We shall see that those words continue to address the issue of the "process of preparation".
October 31, 2004
- I. The Imagery of the Highway.
- A. The statements of Zacharias are fundamentally attached to this "imagery".
- 1. At the beginning of his words regarding his newborn son, he says that John will go before the Lord to prepare His "highways".
- 2. At the end of his words regarding his newborn son, he says that the "Dayspring" from the Highest will "guide our feet onto the Highway of Peace".
- B. These statements fall into a rather large prophetic concept.
- 1. In Acts 9:2, the imagery is presented as a fundamental description of the doctrinal identity of Christianity.
- 2. In John 14:1-6, Jesus picks up this imagery and, ultimately, identifies Himself as "the Highway".
- 3. In John 1:19-28, John identifies himself as fundamentally a voice calling for the building of the Highway of the Lord.
- 4. In Isaiah 40:3-5, the "voice" John claims to be calls for the building of a level and straight highway in the desert.
- a. This call is rooted in the earlier imagery of Isaiah 2:2-4 as it is set into the context of 2:12-17 where the "making low" every mountain and hill is the equivalent of the humbling of "the pride of man" (2:11&17).
- b. This call is the foundation of John's message in his generation: repent.
- C. This "imagery" is a two-edged sword in that "movement" up the Highway toward the life of service is what we would call "progress", but "movement" down the Highway away from the life of service is what Paul calls extraordinarily dangerous in his words to the Corinthians regarding Yahweh's willingness to kill those who go in the wrong direction too far.
- 1. The entire concept of the "Highway" is a concept of "movement toward/away from".
- 2. This concept is that of a "process" that assumes the "not-yet" reality of the lack of present experience of the fulness of the promise.
- 3. That it is a "process" assumes that there are continual "adjustments" that will have to be made [in the form of "steps" toward the goal].
- II. The Significance of the "Child's" Identity.
- A. Zacharias' words of identification -- pointing to his newborn son -- are emphatic: "Now, indeed, you, child...".
- 1. This emphasis is a deliberate attempt to tie John into the larger picture that has been given in the preceding words.
- a. That larger picture is of the promise of salvation that consists in being brought into the servant mindset of fearlessness and continual service.
- b. The link to John is that he will be a very fundamental preparatory part of the fulfillment of the promise.
- 2. This emphasis means that we can seek, and find, help in the words about the child regarding our quest to be included in the promise.
- B. Zacharias' words of identification tell us the roots of how to be involved in the promise.
- 1. The calling of John "child" is instructive because the word has two major theses in it.
- a. The first thesis tied to the word "child" is the powerful emotional attachment that the one who uses it has for the one to whom it is applied.
- b. The second thesis tied to the word "child" is the fact that anyone who is called that is enormously "ignorant" and in need of a great deal of "informing".
- 2. The declaration that this "child" is going to be called "prophet of the Most High" makes one fundamental claim: the method of "movement" along the Highway of Peace is going to be "instruction from the Word of the Only God".
- a. There is only one solution to "ignorance": information.
- b. There is only one source of legitimate information: the Omniscient One.
- c. There is only one Omniscient One: the Most High God.
- 1) This is primarily a Lukan term (used outside of Luke/Acts only twice in the New Testament).
- 2) This is primarily Luke's way of making the claim that Yahweh Elohim is the only God with Whom men need to be concerned.
- 3) The declaration that this "child" is going to be known as "prophet of the Most High" because he will precede Him and prepare His highways means one fundamental thing: the prophetic word will give us the "method" for both getting on the Highway and moving along it toward the goal of becoming a continuous servant.
a. Interestingly, when John's entire life-message is summarized, it is summarized in terms of repentance.
- b. This implies that repentance is the "method" of getting on the Highway and maintaining a positive course of movement along it.