I’ve been preaching through Luke, and you can find those sermons here. And we came up to Zachariah’s song, which can be read here. This song is about the visiting mercy of God to bring peace and God brings this peace in two ways. The first way God brings peace is by visiting His people with mercy forgiving sins and renewing the covenant. The second way that God brings peace is by visiting His enemies with destruction.
The Gospel is both. God fulfills the covenant of Abraham through Jesus by blessing and cursing. The people of God will be victorious by the mercy and wrath of God. We often fall into a trap of having one or the other, but God cannot be divided. It is not mercy without wrath, and it is not wrath without mercy. The Good News is that Jesus is the King of heaven and earth and He is visiting with mercy and wrath.
So, how does the church win? We have peace with God through Christ, so how does Christ visit our enemies? The enemies that Christ promises to bring down. We do it the same way He did it. We follow Him in the Way of peace.
God, from Adam to Jesus, has always moved the world forward through blood.
When Adam rebelled animals were sacrificed to clothe them of their shame.
When the Covenant was extended to Abraham it was sealed with the blood of circumcision.
When the Covenant was expanded in Israel it was the blood of the Passover Lamb that delivered God’s people from their enemies.
When the Covenant was reaffirmed on Mt. Sinai sacrifices were given.
And we are told in the prophets, particularly Isaiah, that the suffering-Servant of God would come to shed His blood.
And Jesus tells the disciples that the His blood is the blood of the new covenant.
The very body and blood of Jesus subsumes all the old blood covenants that looked forward to His suffering on the cross.
And now we are told by Paul that it is we who bear the sacrifice of the covenant as we are living sacrifices to God pursuing holiness and righteousness, Romans 12:1.
When we receive the bread and wine of Communion we receive peace with God because Jesus has walked His Way perfectly in holiness and righteousness. And at the same time, as we partake of this bread and wine we are committing to follow Jesus in the Way, to give our lives for the sake of others.
And here is the victory that overcomes the world.