Day 25: Redemption for His People

Luke 1:66-71 :

The hand of the Lord was with him. His father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
for he has visited and worked redemption for his people;
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David
(as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old),
salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;

God is interested in the redemption of Israel. We may be tempted to think that Zacharias is talking about Christians here, but that wouldn’t make sense from a historical perspective. Notice that he mentions the “God of Israel” and “his people”. Historically, this would have to be the Jews. Christians didn’t exist yet. The only people that God had chosen at this point were the Jews.

In order to have a proper understanding of what the Bible is saying, it’s important for us to pay attention to the historical context of the words. Since we have the whole Bible now, it’s easy for us to wrongfully apply every statement in it to ourselves. This doesn’t actually work, though, because God’s relationship with mankind has changed as His plan has unfolded. To follow every thing that the Bible ever told people to do could even cause us to do something wrong; something that God no longer wants us to do. God hasn’t changed but the relationship between God and mankind has. For instance, before the Old Testament Law, people didn’t know exactly what God expected of them. When the Law of Moses was given, people learned about it and were then capable of being rebellious to it.

God’s law changed His relationship with those who knew it because now they were responsible to it. Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins changed God’s view of our sin and our responsibility to Him as well. Up to that point, God looked forward to the time when Jesus would pay for sins, but after that point, He saw the sins as having been paid for. He expected all people to look to Jesus and stop looking to the Old Testament Law. He also expected people to live by the Holy Spirit, which wasn’t possible before.

So you can see, it is important that we carefully read and study the Bible to understand its place in history so that we understand what God is really saying. Although it is true that Jesus came to save the world, here we read that God was saying that the Messiah would come to save the Jews.