Advent Preaching About Help Is On The Way

Advent Preaching About Help Is On The Way

We are once again making a turn in this blog.  We’ve been looking at how to love your people as a means to better preaching.  As I write this, the first Sunday of Advent is just around the corner.  And so, I thought I would give you the resources to preach four sermons on the subject of Advent, the time of waiting before celebrating Christmas.  In this post we begin with the first of four songs that people in the advent story sing as they anticipated the birth of Jesus.  So, the subject today is advent preaching about help is on the way with the coming of Jesus.

I did a series of posts earlier on preaching on Advent that may help as well.  You will find the first of those posts here.

Help Is On The Way–the Benedictus

A man named Zechariah sings the first song.  You’ll find it in Luke 1:67-79.  This song is referred to in literature with a Latin word, the Benedictus, or the blessing.  Let’s review some of the facts about Zechariah.

  • He’s a priest, one of about 20,000 such priests who served at the temple.  He was chosen to serve at the temple for a 2-week period, to burn incense.
  • He’s going about his work, when suddenly the angel Gabriel shows up.  He was terrified.  The passage says that he was “gripped with fear”.  The angel’s first words are “Do not be afraid.”
  • The Angel then says, “Your prayer has been heard!”  They were going to have a child!  Childlessness was considered a curse in that time.  But the announcement goes on to say that this child that he and his wife would have was going to prepare the way for the Messiah!
  • While he was inside the temple burning the incense, the people were waiting outside for him to come out and give the Aaronic blessing: The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.  There is a tradition that says that Zechariah had a rope around his ankle, because who came that close to God’s presence in the Ark of the Covenant might die, so the rope would allow people to pull out the body.  This is a tradition.  Don’t present it as truth.

Preaching At Advent

So, here’s a way to approach this message:


Kaitlin Roig

Tell about the disasters in the world.  When I preached on this passage I used the story about the school shooting in Sandy Hook.  I quoted at length from an interview with Kaitlin Roig, one of the teachers in that school and how she kept her kids safe.  It talks about fear and about the hope of Christmas.

Transition to the fears that we have today.  You can make a list from your country or community, or the personal fears that people have when their hopes and dreams aren’t coming true.

The message of this song is that Help is On The Way.

Point 1: The Setting 

The people of Israel were looking for a Messiah.  Rome was oppressing them.  They knew their hope was in God, but they didn’t see the answers to their prayers for relief and freedom.  The Pharisees also oppressed them religiously as they changed a dynamic relationship with a living God into a list of rules.

Give some background on Zechariah from the information above.   He and his wife had lost hope.

Point 2: The Song 

Advent Preaching That Help Has Come

When John is born and named, Zechariah bursts out in a great song.  Here are some of the exciting statements in this song:

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has a redeemed his people.”  Note the word, “come”.  It has two meanings in Scripture.  It can mean “to visit personally”, such as in Matthew 25;36: I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. 

But it can also mean, “to tent upon”.  John 1:14 uses this word when it says “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling (tented) among us.

In other words, God has come.  Help is here.

Advent Preaching that We Are Redeemed

The song mentions that Jesus “redeems” or “rescues” us.  (vss. 68, 69, 71, 74, 77).  The point is the point we are making, that advent preaching about help is on the way means that Jesus comes to rescue us, to help us when we are hurting.  He provides our transformation (to enable us to serve him in holiness and righteousness all our days).

He provides light to those in darkness, (vs. 78, 79).   The light overcomes the darkness of sin and the darkness of the world.


Help is on the way!  Whatever your situation, God has promised to come, to tent with you.  It might be especially appropriate to quote here from the Sandy Hook story listed above about “I just want Christmas”.


I hope this helps in your advent preaching preparation!