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B.W. Johnson Commentary on Luke 1:57-80 - Birth of John the Baptist and Zacharia's Song

From The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, 1891.

59. On the eighth day. On the eighth day male Jewish children were circumcised and named (Gen. 17:12). The kinsmen present called the child after his father's name, a common Jewish custom, but Elisabeth protested that his name should be John, that given by the angel. The matter was referred to the father.

63. Asked for a writing tablet. Because his tongue had not yet been loosed.

65. Fear came on all . . . them. On account of so many marvels.

67. Zacharias . . . prophesied. As soon as his tongue was loosed it was employed to praise the Lord. All inspired utterances are called prophesying, but in the present case there was clearly inspired prediction. In the Old Testament spirit the kingdom of Christ in the future is described in general terms.

68-75. A horn of salvation. An allusion to the Savior. The horn was a symbol of power. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets. "Of him have all the prophets borne witness." "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." "The whole volume of Scripture did prophesy of him. He was the sum and scope of all their predictions. He was Abraham's promised seed, Abraham's Isaac, Jacob's Shiloh, Moses' Great Prophet, Esaias' Immanuel, Ezekiel's Shepherd, Daniel's Holy One, [227] Zechariah's Branch, Malachi's Angel; all of them predictions to foretell his coming. All their types and ceremonies pointed at him. He was Abel's Sacrifice, Noah's Dove, Abraham's First Fruits, Aaron's Rod, the Israelites' Rock, the Patriarchs' Manna, David's Tabernacle, Solomon's Temple; all these prefigured his incarnation. They were the folds and swathing of the this babe Jesus."--Bishop Brownrig. From our enemies. The priest is, at the same time the patriot in the best sense of the term, deeply moved by the sight of Roman tyranny. The oath. This oath is recorded in Gen. 22:16, 17. It was an oath in which God swore by himself, because he could swear by no greater (Heb. 6:13, 14), that he would surely bless Abraham and his posterity; that promise was now to be entirely fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah.

76-79. Thou, child. The babe, John, before him. Prophet of the Highest. "The Most High" is an epithet in Scripture only of the supreme God. By the remission of their sins. The remainder of the sentence embodies the gospel in brief. It promises (1) salvation, (2) not merely political but spiritual. A remission of, and redemption from sin, (3) indicates the cause--the divine mercy (compare John 3:16; Eph. 2:4-8), and (4) promises the result, "like to eyes in darkness, and peace to feet straying in paths of sorrow and perplexity." The dayspring. Christ is the morning light, the rising sun (Mal. 4:2). The gospel brings light with it (John 3:19).

80. The child . . . was in the deserts. In the wilderness of Judea where he could have ample opportunity for communion with God.

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