In Genesis 15:1-6 God promises a 100 year old Abraham: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Paul explains that this is the Gospel and promises that a Seed will come by Abraham and that Abraham believed in that Promise and was saved by faith (Romans 4, Galatians 3).
In the story today, we read of the birth announcement of John – the cousin of Jesus who would be “Elijah to come” and herald the coming of the long awaited Messiah. Zechariah is struck dumb at his disbelief that such a wondrous thing would come to pass.
The angel announces to Mary that God has chosen her to bear the very Son of God, the savior of the world. She goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John, and they both begin to rejoice at the announcement of Christ. They are not focused upon themselves but rejoice at the wonder of it all: 2000 years before, God had promised to bless Abraham and NOW His promise was coming to pass! John is born and Zechariah’s mouth is opened to praise God not for John’s birth but for the One he will announce – Jesus the Messiah.
Christ is born in Bethlehem as the prophets foretold and an entire heavenly host announces the birth of the Messiah to shepherds. These were the sheep that were used in temple sacrifices and they leave to worship the Lamb of God – the Good Shepherd who will save His people from their sins.
Finally, Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the Temple on the 8 th day of His birth to circumcise Him – to place Him under the Law so that He might fulfill all righteousness for us. At the temple, Simeon had served a very long life and was told he would not die until he saw the Messiah. He expresses the hope of every man, woman, and child that Has ever belonged to God: “Oh yes! The Savior has come! God has fulfilled every promise for everything from Him is Yes! and Amen! Our eyes have seen the might salvation of our God in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!