Praise for the Savior and Messiah
Open Your Bible
Have you ever fallen in love with a movie only to be disappointed by the prequel? You loved The Wizard of Oz; why wouldn’t you love Oz the Great and Powerful? Although prequels can be disappointing, every once in a while, a decent prequel comes out. Good prequels get us more invested in the original plot and characters. They leave audiences even more excited about the overall story.
Luke 1 is the necessary prequel to Jesus’s anticipated entrance into our world. Like John the Baptist preparing the people of his day for Christ, this passage prepares us for the Savior’s gracious presence today. With the curtain peeled back, we watch the interplay between the Holy Spirit and praising God.
Notice how speech plays a significant role in the passage. The angel Gabriel speaks joyful pregnancy news to two different people and hears differing responses. Old Zechariah voices disbelief at his words (Luke 1:20) while young Mary voices belief in what he said (v.38). By the end of the chapter, Mary opens her mouth to rejoice that God is finally delivering the Deliverer. And a speechless Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, opens his mouth to prophesy how God has fulfilled what He “spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets ancient times” (v.70).
The Bible is about praise—who receives it, who speaks it, and what makes up its content. It’s the mighty God of Israel who deserves all praise. He condescends to lift the humble and lowly. He draws near to show mercy to generations upon generations. He has provided redemption and salvation for His people (vv.68–69). Made to praise but rendered mute by pride and sin, our mouths can now rejoice in the Lord who gave us His very own Spirit.
And yet, praising is sometimes a struggle isn’t it? We’re quick to share praise for delicious meals, new purchases, personal accomplishments, and funny videos but when hard times come, words feel distant and hard to find. That is when we need to loosen our tongues the most. Sure, we must lament the fallenness of life here, but eventually, we must turn our mourning into praise. Praise Him for His character. Praise Him for His works. Praise Him for His creation. For His provision. For His endless kindness. For sustaining our faith.
Through an unassuming cast of characters—an aging priest, his seemingly infertile wife, and their young virgin cousin—the dawn of God’s fulfilled promises shines forth on those living in the darkness of death’s shadow (vv.78–79). It’s the prequel we still need, and it invites us to give unceasing praise to the author of our salvation.