A new day dawning


The old man gently cradled the baby in his arms. He’d held babies before, but this was different. At last, this was his own flesh and blood! Zechariah marvelled that the words spoken to him by the angel Gabriel had come true. Eight days ago, his ageing wife Elizabeth had given birth to the baby they were instructed to call ‘John’. Later, as a man, this child would become known as ‘John the Baptist’, the one who prepared the way for the coming Messiah.

There’d been no prophet in Israel for 400 years. For 400 years God had been silent. And for the past nine months Zechariah himself had been silenced because he’d doubted God’s plan (Luke 1:19-20). Yet the birth of this baby is signalling the dawning of a new day. So God enables Zechariah to speak again, and he begins his song of praise.

Read Luke 1:67-75



  • Zechariah is holding John in his arms, but who is the focus of this first part of his song of praise?
  • Inspired by the Holy Spirit, what reasons does Zechariah give for praising the Lord?

    Zechariah’s focus here is not on John, but on the coming Messiah who will redeem God’s people and bring salvation. In the past, God redeemed his people by rescuing them from their slavery in Egypt. In that rescue, every family was saved by the blood of a lamb sprinkled on their doorpost. One day John’s opening words about Jesus would be: ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).

    Read Luke 1:76-80



    • Who is now the focus of Zechariah’s song?
    • Inspired by the Holy Spirit, what does Zechariah say his child will do?
    • What will the role of the Messiah be? (vs 78-79)
    • How did God later prepare John for the ministry he had given him to do (vs 80)?

    John’s work was to prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus, by turning people’s hearts back to God. Like the great prophet Elijah before him, John called Israel to repent and turn back to God. Like the rising sun, the Messiah would bring light from heaven to those living in darkness. A new day was dawning!



    You may like to read Isaiah 40:3-11 where, eight centuries before, Isaiah spoke of John and the coming Messiah.


    Something to think and pray about

    John was called to prepare the way for Jesus, the light of the world. As God’s people today we are called to share this light with those who are living in darkness. Pray for God’s help to carry out this ministry.


    Something to sing about

    Enjoy some songs on this theme: On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist’s Cry (Charles Coffin) O Come O Come Emmanuel (Sovereign Grace); Make Way, Make Way (Graham Kendrick); 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman).