Fourth Sunday in Advent – Monday
Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. – Malachi 3:1.
Immediately before the appearance of Christ, a messenger, a preacher, was to come who, by most impressively preaching repentance, would prepare the hearts of men for the Savior’s coming. This had been prophesied three times (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1, Malachi 4:5-6). And when God, in a miraculous way, sent word that this preparer of the way was about to be born, there appeared the first glimmer of the dawn of breaking day, the day of the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies. Hear how it was done, as this is recorded in Luke 1:5-25.
In the days of King Herod there lived in the land of Judea a priest named Zacharias; his wife’s name was Elisabeth. The righteousness of faith in the Messiah canceled all their sins; and they were both sincerely pious. They had no child, and were now well stricken in years. One day, while Zacharias was burning incense in the temple, and the multitude of the people prayed outside, in the court of the temple, there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. When Zacharias saw him, he was troubled. But the angel said to him, “Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord, their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:13-17). Zacharias said, “Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years” (v. 18). The angel answered, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season” (Luke 1:19-20). And Zacharias remained speechless until his son was born and named “John.”
O Christians, rejoice in contemplating, both with eye and heart, the time when the precious wondrous deeds of God for our salvation were accomplished!
PRAYER. – Most heartily do I give thanks to Thee, most merciful and true God, for having fulfilled Thy Word given through the prophets, and for causing that day of salvation to dawn, which so gladdens my heart. Let this, Thy work, I beg Thee, be the light of my eyes, and the joy of my heart, that my faith may be true and well grounded, not on anything that I may have done, but solely on what Thou hast graciously perfected, and on Thy Word, which is firm and unchanging, even as Thou art, God, blessed forever. Amen.
Thou comest in the darksome night
To make us children of the light,
To make us in the realms divine,
Like Thine own angels, round Thee shine.
Hymn 80, 4.