‘The dayspring from on high hath visited us.’ Luke 1:78
There is only one sun in creation and only one Sun in grace. Christ, “the light of the world” (John 8:12) is “the Sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:2). Peter calls Him “the day star” (2 Peter 1:19) and John spoke of “the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16). These figurative expressions are similar to one used by Zacharias in his hymn of praise and thanksgiving, where he views the promised Saviour as “the dayspring” (Luke1:78).
The Greek word for ‘dayspring’ is translated this way only once. In the story of the wise men it is rendered ‘the east’ (Matthew 2:1,2,9). It is from the east that the sun rises, signifying the commencement of a new day. The dayspring or springing of the day is, and can only be, produced by the rising of the sun. Christ, by His incarnation, was the rising of the sun in open view of the world and the day of grace was confirmed. His visit ‘from on high’, the unspeakable gift of God, brought forth an anthem of praise – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14). The beams of divine glory were ever breaking forth in His teaching and miracles, and then in His death, resurrection and ascension. By this voluntary visit to earth, which He made in our nature, He fulfilled the law, satisfied justice, brought in everlasting righteousness, destroyed death and opened the way whereby God can be just and the justifier of the ungodly!
And so the day of our conversion is but another visit of “the dayspring from on high” by His Spirit. What a blesséd day then breaks forth, and springs up, in the soul – when gospel light shines into the heart and turns the shadow of death into the morning! It is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The springing of the day brings light with it, and Christ’s visits bring the light of knowledge, comfort and joy. They also bring spiritual wealth, for unsearchable riches are with Him. He presents gold much richer than that presented to Him by the wise men. The words of the father to his elder son convey this truth: “all that I have is thine” (Luke15:31). All the gold of His grace and glory He makes over to us.
But during any day, clouds may come. The morning may be clear and fair and then the sun be eclipsed. So too, after the bright light of converting love, the soul may be gripped in the darkness of bondage and fear. The Lord seems to be hiding and Satan is harassing with his fiery darts. Then the Sun of righteousness shines through the intervening clouds and says, “I remember [thee] still” (Jeremiah 31:20). Those rash and hasty conclusions about the Lord’s love and faithfulness are then quickly repented of, and a spiritual melody of His grace and goodness fills the heart. His visits of grace cause the mountains of ignorance and unbelief to melt away. Just as the daylight breaks and we long for more light; so we desire more and more of our “dayspring from on high”.
Rev Leslie Curran