“He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.” -Luke 1:69-71
Read Luke 1:57-80
Zechariah’s prophecy, called the last prophecy of the old covenant, speaks in terms that are reflective of the old covenant as it points beyond itself to the one who would pave the way for the new covenant in which old covenant terms are given new meanings.
Zechariah celebrates that the Lord has raised up “a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,” and this salvation consists of “salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.” The “horn” was a symbol of divine power in the Old Testament, and the hope of the old covenant was that Yahweh would use his power to defeat Israel’s enemies and restore Israel as a sovereign nation. In the new covenant we learn that God’s true power is synonymous with the self-sacrificial love he revealed on Calvary (1 Corinthians 1:18, 24). This is a power that seeks to transform enemies into friends by loving them to the point of death. We learn that God’s desire is not just to use this power on behalf of those who belong to “the house of his servant David,” but for all people, including those who might be enemies of Israel.
As people of the new covenant, we are called to walk in the power of the cross and to extend this love to all people without qualification. Consequently, the only “enemies” we are permitted to have are the spiritual powers that seek to deceive us into thinking that another human being could ever possibly be our enemy.
Abba Father, help us to walk in the way of the new covenant and to reflect your cross-like love and power to all people at all times, regardless of their disposition toward us.
Gregory A. Boyd, Ph.D., Senior Pastor at Woodland Hills Church,
Maplewood, MN; Guest Faculty in Ministry, Leadership & Culture,
Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary