The Canticle of Zechariah Luke 1:68-79

The Canticle of Zechariah Luke 1:68-79 

The famous Canticle of Zechariah is also known as the Benedictus. As part of the Christian Prayer, this is sung daily in the morning praises as an invocation of a blessing or benediction to God. It was an invocation originally made by Zechariah right after the birth of his long awaited son, John the Baptist.

In the earlier gospels, it is told that Zechariah was made speechless by an angel. He was unable to speak because he doubted the angel’s message for him. He remained that way until all that were announced to him had happened. Immediately, after the birth of his son, his speech was given back to him. So wonderful it was that the first words that he uttered were these words of blessings and praises to God which said:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel. He has come to his people and set them free”…

For the whole duration of Elizabeth’s conception of John, Zechariah might have been very excited to talk. Upon knowing that he was indeed given a son in his very old age, he might have wanted to express his gratitude to God. But due to his temporary muteness, he was not able to do so. 

During his long-time silence, Zechariah had also seen and realized how God worked marvelously in their life. The coming of the Redeemer Jesus Christ was revealed to him. The fulfillment of God’s promise to the people of Israel is finally happening.  This made him utter these beautiful words of blessing due to God.


In this Canticle, the word “free” was mentioned three times.

“He has come to his people and set them free“;

“to set us free from the hands of our enemies”; and

free to worship Him without fear”.

On the other hand, from the following verses:

He has raised up for us a mighty Savior“;

“that He would save us from our enemies”; and

“to give His people knowledge of salvation“, 

an emphasis on the word salvation and its derivatives was made.

From these two mostly repeated words in the song of Zechariah, we could tell how beautiful the experience he had with God. He saw God’s faithfulness as was always proclaimed by the prophets. More than being freed from his muteness, he experienced the freedom that was flowing from God’s mercy and love. He felt the freedom that brought him to a deeper experience of God’s salvation.

Zechariah, like Mary in her Magnificat, was not able to contain in his heart all the greatness of God shown to him. Thus, making him cry out and bless the Lord immensely. He gave his praises to God who so manifested Himself to him, a doubtful servant. Zechariah was moved to proclaim the coming of a Savior out of God’s mercy and compassion to all. And that his son, John, was chosen to be His precursor – the one who will prepare the way of His Lord.

The Canticle of Zechariah spoke very well of a God who came to us through Jesus Christ. His coming is to set us all free – free from our enemies, free from hate, from darkness, from sickness, from weariness and from fear.

God wished that we all become free because it is only when we have freedom within that we would be able to experience His true saving action in our lives. When we are already free from all the things that enslave us, then it is a sign that we are experiencing God’s salvation here and now.

As we pray during this season of advent, may we be able to see and proclaim the mercy and compassion of God throughout our life. Like Zechariah, may we also bless and give praises to God for His faithfulness.

Points for reflection:

Do I have freedom within me? What are the things that enslave me?

What must I do to experience God’s salvation here and now?

How often do I give praise and bless God for the wonderful things that He has done in my life?


Canticle of Zechariah Luke 1:68-79


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God bless.

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