“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.”
Zechariah’s song in Luke 1 is the basis of the song “Blessed be the God of Israel.” This is a newer song, and it has an easy, familiar tune, as found in several hymnals (for example, Lift Up Your Hearts, 67).
At the announcement of the birth of his son, Zechariah the priest could not contain himself. After many months of not being able to speak, Zechariah burst into song: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” But the Savior, Jesus, had not been born yet, so what was happening here?
Zechariah knew that his son (John the Baptist, as we know him) would be the prophet who came to “prepare the way” for the coming of the Messiah (Jesus).
This song, also known as the Benedictus (in Latin), tells us that the coming Messiah will come to rescue and redeem us, to bring us salvation and forgiveness of sins—all so that we may “serve him without fear.”
The Messiah has come to rescue us for a purpose, his purpose—so that we can serve him. As the hymn puts it, he came “to save us all, that we might worship without fear and offer lives of praise,/ in holiness and righteousness to serve God all our days.”
Lord God, we praise you for coming to set us free—so that we may live our lives for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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