Jesus the Savior: The Benedictus | Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Brian Hedges | December 6, 2020
We’re continuing this morning in our study through the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel. I’d like to invite you to turn to Luke 1. We’re going to be looking at the last section of chapter 1, verses 67-79.
While you’re turning there, let me just tell you about what our family did on Friday night this week. For the first time ever since we moved up here we actually went down to Shipshewana. I know everybody that lives around here regularly makes their trips to Shipshewana, but we’d never gone, and we went there for dinner, and then we went to experience the Lights of Joy. How many of you have been through the Lights of Joy at Shipshewana? Let me see your hands. Well, I’m surprised! I only see one hand up! You should go. It was a fun experience. They have this incredible drive-through of Christmas lights.
However, I think we went on one of the busiest nights of the year, because we waited in line for quite a long time. At that point, we were just in our cars, and it was relatively dark, and there were no Christmas lights to be seen. But finally, after a long wait, we made it into the drive-through, where we enjoyed all the Christmas lights.
It kind of reminds me of what life is like. We spend a lot of our lives waiting. We spend a lot of our lives in periods where we’re waiting for God to fulfill his promise to us, but we haven’t seen the fulfillment yet. The season of Advent is really about that wait leading up to the fulfillment of God’s promise.
In the Old Testament, the people of God waited for the coming of the Messiah, the first advent of Christ. That was when the light of redemption would appear. In the New Testament, New Testament Christians are waiting for the second advent of Christ, as we wait with eager anticipation for the glorious return of our Lord Jesus.
The passage we’re going to look at this morning actually ends with the sunrise, the dawning of light that comes through the advent of Jesus Christ. We’re going to be looking at the story of the birth of John the Baptist, and especially the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. As you know, in the first two chapters of Luke you have the nativity story of our Lord, but it’s interspersed with another birth story, another origin story, really, and it’s the story of John the Baptist. This is the most detailed that we have of both the birth of the Lord Jesus and the birth of John the Baptist.
It really begins in Luke 1:5-25 with an annunciation, where an angel comes to Zechariah, this old priest, and tells him that his barren wife is going to have a child. That’s in verses 5-25. Then you skip down to the end of the chapter, and in verses 57-66 John is born, this child is actually born. What follows in verses 67-79 is what we call the Benedictus. It’s one of the three canticles or songs that appear in Luke 1-2. It’s called the Benedictus from the Latin Vulgate, the first word, which means “praise be,” “Praise be to God,” or “Blessed be God.”
We’re going to look mainly at that particular hymn, or that song, the song of Zechariah this morning, in Luke 1:67-79, if you want to follow along in your Bibles. Let me read the passage and then tell you where we’re going to go in this message.
The word of God says,
“And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.’”
This is God’s word.
Now, as we read through that song (and I referenced this last week as well), you can see very clearly that the theme of Zechariah’s song is salvation. In verse 69 he blesses the Lord, “who has raised up a horn of salvation.” Then he talks about being delivered, “saved from the hands of our enemies,” and then he says that his son, John, will come to prepare the way of the Lord, “to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins.” That’s what this is about. Zechariah is singing a song of praise to God about our great salvation, the great salvation that has dawned in the coming of the Messiah.
As we look through this hymn, I want to show five things about salvation, five things this passage teaches us about salvation. Some of this I think is illustrated by what goes before in the narrative of John the Baptist’s birth and what precedes it. Five things about salvation that we’re going to look at this morning.
1. Salvation Always Involves a Divine Visitation
It involves God coming to man, God coming to human beings. You see this in verse 68. It says, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.” God has visited his people. Of course, Zechariah says this in the past tense, even though the Lord Jesus has yet to be born. But I think he’s reflecting on what he himself has already experienced.
If you remember the story, this is what happened. Zechariah was a priest. He was of the family of Levi, and there were thousands of priests in Israel, and they would serve on rotation. One or two weeks a year they would come and they would serve in the temple. It’s when he’s in the temple, he’s serving in the temple, that something happens.
Now, you have to remember that Zechariah’s an old man. His wife is named Elizabeth, and the great burden of their lives is that Elizabeth is barren, she has no children. Of course, you have to remember that in the ancient world, this was a tremendous reproach for a woman to not have children, because so much value was placed on motherhood. A woman’s worth was found in having children. She has no children, she is barren. She takes her place alongside some of the other great women of the Bible, who suffered barrenness until God did a miracle. You think of Abraham and Sarah, or you think of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Oftentimes in Scripture, when God is about to do a great new thing, he’s about to carry forward the story of redemption, he does it by bringing about a miraculous birth. That’s the case here as well.
Zechariah is in the temple, and he’s doing his ministration, his ministry in the temple, and something happens. An angel appears to him and speaks to him. I want you to see this just in verses 11-15.
It says, “There appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayers have been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.’”
This is an amazing thing! Zechariah immediately feels fear, which is because it was a supernatural occurrence. Angels did not appear to people every day. Even in the Bible, there are only a handful of appearances of angels. There aren’t many, and they’re usually right around great, big moments in redemptive history, such as preceding the birth of the Lord Jesus.
In fact, you have to remember this, that God had been silent for 400 years. Four centuries! That’s longer than the United States has been a country, right? For 400 years, God had not spoken, since the prophet Malachi. God had been silent. Here are the people of God, they are waiting for a word, they are waiting for the Messiah, they are waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises, the promises that God has made, but they’ve been waiting for 400 years. Even though they’re in their own land, they are under the rule of the pagan Romans. They really felt that they were still living in exile from God. They had not seen the fulfillment of God’s promises.
The song that we sang this morning captures perfectly the spirit of the people of that time.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.”
That’s where they were. So this was the national scene; they feel that they are in exile, God has been silent for 400 years. Then the personal scene is Zechariah and Elizabeth, and she’s barren.
That’s the situation. That’s their predicament. That’s the situation they are in, and it’s into that situation that God sends a message. This is always how God works. God works in the midst of the worst possible human situations, and he visits his people, he visits the human scene.
I love the way Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it. He said, “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” What Zechariah needed, what the whole nation of Israel needed, and what you and I need in our own lives is a supernatural divine visitation. That happened supremely, historically, in the advent of Jesus Christ, the incarnation, which is all about, of course, Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God with us.
But listen; even in our personal lives, salvation takes place when there is a divine visitation. Historically, it happens through the gift of the Son, which happened in the incarnation of Christ, but personally and existentially and experientially in our own lives it happens through the gift of the Holy Spirit, as God sends his Spirit into our hearts and he regenerates us and brings us into new life.
Just as Zechariah and Elizabeth were literally barren, so you and I are barren spiritually, until God comes, but salvation involves just that. It’s not so much man reaching up to God, it’s God reaching down to man. It’s God coming and doing a new work.
Charles Wesley captured this well in one of the verses of his Christmas hymn, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”. Have you ever heard this verse? I heard this just a couple of days ago on the radio. It’s just amazing to me how much gospel goes across the air waves in our culture, and nobody seems to mind, and they don’t even realize the theology they’re hearing. But listen to this.
“Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise the woman’s conqu’ring seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness now efface,
Stamp thine image in its place.
Final Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love!”
That’s what salvation is. Salvation is all about Christ through the Spirit fixing his humble home in our hearts. It’s about him conquering, bruising the serpent’s head in us and reinstating us into the love of God. Until that has happened to you, until you have experienced a divine visitation through the Holy Spirit regenerating your heart, bringing you to life, bringing you into the love of God, you’re not a Christian, and you haven’t been saved. Salvation is always about a divine visitation. It was true historically, and it’s true personally.
2. Salvation Is Accomplished Through the Display of God’s Mighty Power
It’s a divine visitation in which God displays his mighty power. Again, look at the text, verses 68-69. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David!”
Have you ever read that and wondered, “What is a horn of salvation? Is this a trumpet? Is it a French horn? What kind of horn is it?”
It’s not talking about musical instruments at all. The ancient world was agricultural cultures, agrarian societies. They were very familiar with animals, much more than we are; and a horn of salvation was a reference to the horn of an animal.
Craig Keener says, “Because a horn could give an animal the victory in battle, it indicated strength.” You might think about a ram who’s getting ready to charge, and he shakes his head, because those horns are ready, with all of that brute force, to come and plow right into his enemy. The horn was a symbol of strength and of power.
This is language that you have often in the Old Testament. For example, in the Psalms, Psalm 18:2, David is praying, and he just piles up metaphor after metaphor that all speak about the strength and the power of God. He says, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
This is talking about the power of God that is being raised up in the Messiah. Now, again, Zechariah had personally seen and experienced the power of God, the voice of God. He had heard God’s message, his revelation through an angel, and then you remember, he initially responded in unbelief. You remember what happened? He was struck dumb, and he’s unable to speak for nine months, until after John is born. It’s only when he names the child John, in obedience to God’s command, the angel’s message, it’s only then that his tongue is loosed and he’s able to speak. The first thing out of his mouth is this hymn, it’s this song, “Blessed be the Lord God who’s raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.”
It seems here that Zechariah also understands that the display of the power of God is not just what he’s experienced himself, but it’s about what’s coming, because he already knows that Elizabeth’s cousin Mary is also carrying a child, and this has also been a supernatural conception. As a virgin, she has conceived—by the Holy Spirit, she has conceived the Christ child; she’s bearing the Messiah.
We know he’s talking about the Messiah because he says, “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” Well, Zechariah isn’t from the house of David, Elizabeth is not from the house of David; but Jesus will be born in the house of David.
This is a description of Jesus, the horn of our salvation, through whom God displays his power. Now, here’s the mysterious thing about the power of God, and even in this text, even though there are supernatural things happening, isn’t it amazing how so often in Scripture the power of God is clothed in human weakness? God’s power comes, but there’s not a lot of fanfare! It’s not that Jesus is born in Jerusalem or even in Rome; it’s not that Jesus comes riding on a white charger; it’s not that he descends from heaven to earth in some visible way, full of manifest power and glory—it’s not that at all! He is born as a baby in Bethlehem. He comes as a child.
This is God’s way, isn’t it? God displays his power through the means of human weakness. That’s the story of the incarnation, and supremely, it’s the story of the crucifixion, where God’s greatest demonstration of power in the history of the world, and in all of the history of redemption, is in the cross, where Jesus, the God-man, dies in weakness for our sins.
That’s why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1 that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” Why? Because it’s through the foolishness of the cross and this message being preached—it’s through that that God brings salvation to the world.
Salvation. It always involves a divine visitation and its accomplished through this display of God’s mighty power, but its power clothed in weakness.
3. God Performs His Saving Work in Fulfillment of His Covenant Promises
The third thing I want you to see is this, that God performs his saving work in fulfillment of his covenant promises. I don’t know if you noticed as we read through our passage this morning, but there are a lot of allusions to the Old Testament.
You see this in verses 69-73. “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to show the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham.”
After the first service, someone walked up to me, and he was a guest. He walked up to me and he said, “Did you know that the name Zechariah means ‘the Lord has remembered’ and the name Elizabeth means ‘oath’?” I went and looked it up, and he’s right! It does mean those things. This guy was obviously a preacher. I could tell right off the bat; this guy knew his stuff.
Here you have it. You have God remembering his covenant, you have God fulfilling his promises, you have God remembering the oath. There are references here, really, to two different covenants: the covenant with David, first of all, which you see in verse 69 (“a horn of salvation in the house of his servant David”), and then also the Abrahamic covenant, the covenant to Abraham; you have that in verse 73 (“the oath that he swore to our father Abraham”). The hope of redemption is built on these two promises, these two covenants in the Old Testament.
You remember that God had come to Abraham and had said, “I’m going to give you a son.” Again, his wife, Sarah, was also barren. “I’m going to give you a son,” and he says, “In you and in your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed.”
God had made a similar promise to David. He had told David, when David wanted to build a temple for the Lord, the Lord had essentially said, “You’re not going to build me a house, I’m going to build you a house. I’m going to build you a dynasty, and your house is going to endure forever. A son from your loins is going to sit on the throne of my people forever.”
Well, it’s being fulfilled right here in this coming of the Lord Jesus. He fulfills these covenants.
Now, I’m spending some time on this for a couple of reasons, and here’s the first. I want you and I to know and to understand the importance of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is important. The Old Testament is two-thirds of our Bible. Two-thirds of God’s revelation of himself to his people in written form comprise the Old Testament. You will not really understand the New Testament until you understand the Old. In fact, it’s been well said that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.
I have a pair of books in my office by a great pastor-theologian, Mark Dever, The Message of the Old Testament and The Message of the New Testament. The subtitle for The Message of the Old Testament is Promises Made. The subtitle for The Message of the New Testament is Promises Kept. That’s exactly what you have. You have promises made in the Old, you have promises kept in the New.
It’s so crucial for us, if we’re going to understand our Bibles well, for us to know both the New Testament and the Old, and not to neglect the Old Testament. Don’t let anybody tell you that we are unhitched from the Old Testament, as is so commonly being said now.
Now, of course, I know there are things in the Old Testament that have been fulfilled in Jesus. There are laws that we no longer obey, because those laws have been fulfilled in Jesus. But the idea that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God revealed in Jesus in the New Testament, that is not biblical! We need the Old Testament. The Old Testament Scriptures are precious, and when you read the New Testament you will find that it is just laced with Old Testament allusions and direct quotations, as you have here.
In fact, the Gospel of Luke ends with Jesus doing a Bible study with his disciples, taking them to the Old Testament! Do you remember this? In Luke 24:44 he says, “‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms” (those were the three sections of the Old Testament) “must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” What Scriptures is he opening their minds to understand? The Old Testament Scriptures.
You and I need the Old Testament Scriptures, and I just want to ask you, Christian: In your spiritual growth, are you reading the Old Testament? Did you read the Old Testament this year? How long has it been since you’ve read the Old Testament? Have you ever read all the way through the Old Testament? If not, one of the things you should do is incorporate into your spiritual disciplines regular reading through the Scriptures, including the Old Testament Scriptures. Whether in a Bible-in-a-year plan or whether you’re taking three or four years to get through—the rate, the pace is not the point. The point is that you are reading reflectively the Old Testament Scriptures, God’s revelation of himself, and that you are growing in your understanding of God’s word.
The Old Testament points to Jesus. Jesus is the key that unlocks and interprets the Old Testament Scriptures, and we will have a fuller, richer understanding of him if we understand the Old Testament. God performs his saving work in fulfillment of his covenant promises, promises made to the fathers through the holy prophets in the Old Testament Scriptures.
4. Salvation Includes Forgiveness of Sins and Renewal in Holiness
There are other things that we could say it includes as well, but you have these two things here in the passage. Look at verses 74-78: “That we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child [now he’s speaking directly of his son, John the Baptist] will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God.”
Now, there’s a lot that’s said right there, but just notice these two things. Two things that he emphasizes here are that we are saved in order to serve God in holiness and in righteousness, and that John the Baptist’s role in preparing the way for the Lord is to give the knowledge of salvation and the forgiveness of sins. Holiness, forgiveness. Those are the two parts of salvation.
You remember that John’s role was the forerunner of the Messiah. He was really the last of the Old Testament prophets. He was the one who came like Elijah, fulfilling the prophecies in Malachi 4, which are also referenced here in Luke 1. He comes doing what? Preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins. That’s what he’s doing. He’s calling people to repent, he’s calling them to baptism, and he’s pointing them to the Lamb of God, who will take away the sins of the world. Repentance and forgiveness.
Salvation always includes both of these things. It includes repentance from our sins and being renewed in righteousness and holiness; transformation of our lives, the regenerating, renewing work of the Holy Spirit that begins to make us holy. It includes that, and it includes the removal of the penalty of sin, the guilt of sin, the forgiveness and the pardon of our sins. Choose what words you want. You can call it repentance and faith, pardon and transformation, forgiveness and holiness, justification and sanctification; but the two things always come together.
This is really the heart of the new covenant in the prophet Jeremiah. Listen to these words from Jeremiah 31:33-34. He says, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord. I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.” There’s the renewal and holiness. “I will be their God and they shall be my people. No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.” There’s the forgiveness. Renewal and holiness, forgiveness of sins, faith and repentance. It’s the heart of the gospel. It’s what is included in salvation.
I love the way the Reformer John Calvin put it. He talks about a “double grace,” that God has given us a double grace in Christ. He says, “Christ was given to us by God’s generosity to be grasped and possessed by us in faith, and by partaking of him we principally receive a double grace...” What’s the double grace? Number one, “...that, being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a judge a gracious Father…” That’s justification. "...and secondly, that sanctified by Christ’s Spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life.” There’s the holiness.
Or, maybe more familiar to more people would be the words of the hymn by Augustus Toplady, who wrote that great hymn “Rock of Ages.” Do you remember these lines?
“Let the water and the blood
From thy riven side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.”
What does salvation involve? It involves having your sins forgiven and having your heart renewed and changed and transformed. Once again, to just apply this to us, we should ask ourselves the question, Have we experienced this divine visitation, the Spirit working in our hearts, and have we experienced this transformation of life so that our hearts are being renewed, our hearts are being changed, and our sins are being forgiven?
Now, this doesn’t mean sinless perfection. The whole life of a Christian is one of repentance, but if there is no brokenness for sin, if there is no mourning for your sin, if there is no pursuit of holiness, if there has been no transformation in your life, if Christ has never come in the power of the Spirit and changed something about you and in you, then you should ask the question if you’ve really experienced the gospel, or do you just have a theoretical knowledge of it? Salvation involves both forgiveness of sins and renewal in holiness.
5. Salvation Is God’s Light Breaking into the Darkness of the World
Then, number five (this is the last thing, I’m almost done, and in some ways this is a summary of the all the rest), salvation is God’s light breaking into the darkness of the world. It is God’s light breaking into the darkness of the world. Look at verses 78-79. “Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” The sunrise. Some of the old translations said the dayspring. The idea is the day springing up, as the sun rises, the dawn of the morning.
Zechariah here is thinking of the Messiah about to be born, and he’s saying, “The dawn is here! The sun is rising, and God is visiting us, he is bringing his light to our darkness.”
Again, this language of light shining out of darkness is Old Testament language. This is language that you find over and again in the Old Testament Scriptures. For example, in the book of Numbers, “A star shall come out of Jacob and a scepter shall arise out of Israel.” What does a star do? It shines, it brings light!
Or Malachi 4; this is how the Old Testament ends. Malachi 4:2, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing its wings.” Who is the Sun of righteousness? It is the Messiah! It is Christ! He is the morning star, he is the dayspring, he is the sunrise, he is the light of the world.
The hymn puts it well:
“O come, O bright and morning star,
Bring us comfort from afar.
Dispel the shadows of night
And turn our darkness into light.”
Emmanuel, God with us. That’s what he does. He comes and he brings light into the darkness.
The question, again, for each one of us this morning is this: Has God brought light into the darkness of your heart, the darkness of your life? Was there a time when you were without hope and without God in the world, where everything was dark, where you were hopeless, where you were just kind of existing but without really living? Then something happened, the Spirit of God opened your eyes to see the truth of who Jesus is, to make Jesus beautiful to you, so that the light of the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ broke into the darkness of your heart and it changed your life? Until that happens to us, we’re not really Christians.
But when that happens, all of a sudden Jesus is beautiful. All of a sudden sin is less appealing. All of a sudden we have new life. All of a sudden life takes on new meaning, we have a new purpose for existence. Why? Because God has come! He’s visited us with his grace. That’s what salvation is. Jonathan Edwards called it “a divine and supernatural light that is imparted into the soul.” Paul talks about it in 2 Corinthians 4, doesn’t he, when he talks about the God who spoke, the morning of creation, the God who spoke light into darkness, and he has shined the light and the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ into our very hearts.
That’s what we need. That’s what salvation is, that’s what Jesus came to do in his incarnation, in his crucifixion, in his resurrection; and now, ascended on high, through the power of the Holy Spirit he brings the light into our darkness.
Have you experienced this? If not, I want to invite you this morning to turn to Christ, look to Christ. Don’t just go through the Christmas season enjoying the carols and the lights and all of the entrapments, as beautiful as those things are, but remember the real reason why we celebrate: that the Lord Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel, God with us, has come. God has visited us. Let’s entrust ourselves to him today. Let’s pray.
Gracious, merciful God, we thank you so much for your saving grace. We thank you that you have revealed your grace and your mercy through your Son, Jesus Christ. We thank you that you have fulfilled your promises, promises made to the fathers in the Old Testament, that you have fulfilled your covenant made with Abraham and with David. We thank you for the new covenant, that we can be included, that you give us the gift of your Spirit, that you write your law on our hearts, that you renew us in your grace, that you put your fear within us, that you forgive us and pardon us of our sins, that you bring us into a new relationship with you. Thank you that you have shined, that the light of the gospel has shined into our hearts.
Father, I pray that all of us this morning who have experienced this would respond with grateful worship today. I pray for any this morning who have not experienced that, who are yet in darkness rather than light. I pray that this morning would be the day of salvation, and that even right now someone would turn to you in saving faith.
Lord, as we come to the table, may we come with our hearts broken because of our sins and yet hopeful because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us. We pray that you would draw near to us in these moments as we seek your face. So be with us as we continue in worship. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.