Knowledge of Salvation … ( Canticle of Zachariah 5/6)

“You my child shall be called the prophet of the most high; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins ”

Zachariah turns in this half of the canticle to address his son.  Zachariah so full of love and joy he can hardly contain it all.  This baby was a dream come true for Elizabeth and Zachariah.  They longed for children, they prayed  and were steadfast in their faith and lived holy lives.  Then, not only does God bless them with a child, but this same child will be great , and a prophet.  He will herald the entrance of the Messiah.

” To give his people knowledge of salvation”.. The purpose John would fulfill is to tell people about the fact that the messiah was coming .  This was to say that John was calling them to repentance, and that Jesus would come to pay the price for the sins of the world in order that salvation of man was freely available.

If you are a  parent, then you know the feeling of exhaustion, and of being up in those wee early morning hours, having coffee, and those feelings of wonder at the life the child you have been blessed with.  THe baby just sits there and looks at you and you find yourself having one of those rhetorical Conversations that the child does not understand but just sits there and smiles at you.  You look at that child and you are full of wonder, full of hope for what that child will do in the world, and what they will become.  I can see Zachariah , taking John so Elizabeth could sleep, and having such a conversation with John.  Zachariah, however, already knew what was in store for John, he just wonders about the “how” of how John will carry out that destiny.

There is an old saying that goes ” Salvation passes by the way of the cross”  Salvation is not an event, its a process.  All men sin and fall short of the glory of God.  Knowing that we all sin and need forgiveness, our conscience makes us struggle with matters of  ” right and wrong”, or ” good and evil”.  We wrestle with what is the right path in difficult situations, our “human -ness” gets in the way and then we seek our reconciliation, our course correction, our forgiveness.  Now Because we still sin, we still need forgiveness. This does not mean that the price for the so of the world was not paid, it means that we are sorry for the sins we commit and cooperate with God in our salvation and in bringing about the Kingdom of God.  Like Zachariah we all stumble in our walk of faith, but God will still use us to fulfill His purpose.

At Baptism we join all other Christians as “priest, prophet and king” in that prophetic office we are called to emulate John in his call to share the news that the Lord will come again, that we have salvation by the forgiveness of our sins, and that we need to “make straight” our own paths.


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