Luke 1:79 (AMP)
“To shine upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet [in a straight line] into the way of peace and serenity.”
Zacharias’ family wanted to call the baby Zacharias, but he had heard from the angel that the baby was to be named John. When the mother said his name would be John, Zacharias affirmed it by writing down the baby’s name as John. All marveled at it. According to the scripture his mouth was immediately opened and his tongue was loosed and he began to praise God and prophesy. It was a short and powerful word. We read in verse 67 the Holy Spirit filled him. Verse 79 gives the closing words of the prophesy. It was this: that God through His mercy would give light in darkness and that light would penetrate the shadow of death and guide all into the way of peace.
Peace is an outstanding word. It is about the paramount blessing that God gave to His people Israel. Again and again in scripture there were tidings of salvation that were given with the theme of peace. Jesus himself is referred to in Isaiah 9:6 as the Prince of Peace. In the next verse it says, “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” This coming Lord and Saviour was going to be one whose character would bring peace. Jesus’ farewell words to his disciples were that He would gift them the gift with peace. He actually said, “My peace I give unto you.” (John 14:27). We also know that this state of peace is to be present in the Christian’s life. We are to know that our state with God is one of tranquility. We have nothing to fear from him. We have a relationship that is in a constant state of peace through the power of reconciliation.
In contrast the New Testament concept of peace has nothing to do with the stoic concept of indifference of apathy or selfish non-disturbance. The peace which God gives is never identified with selfish unconcern. It is actually an objective fruit of real salvation with God. It is the peace that affects change. Its nature is quietness, tranquility, and calm. Peace is the opposite of conflict, narrowness, anguish, stressed anxiety, distraction, or disturbance. Can you imagine the heart of Zacharias as he was filled with the Holy Spirit? A powerful flow of words come from him. He established in all the hearts of the listeners vision, assurance, comfort, and knowing that God was with them. Not only was He with them, but He is now incarnating in and through them with powerful words. I think this is part of what Christmas is. It is a celebration that Emmanuel, God with us, has come to be in us also.