I was listening to a preacher yesterday. He had a lot to say, but something he said about the Apostle’s Creed came to mind today as I read from Luke 1. The Apostle’s Creed does not quote Jesus. It does not highlight any of his teaching. Rather, it’s emphasis is on what Jesus did.
He suffered. He was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead, he rose and ascended to heaven. And our final hope is he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Focusing on what Jesus did helps us appreciate more who he was. Not only a rabbi. Not just a moral teacher or miracle worker. But the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Luke 1 tells of the birth of John the Baptist. On the eighth day, his parents took him to the temple for his circumcision and naming. Tradition would have led his parents to name him Zechariah, after his father. The angel Gabriel, though, had already told him to name the child John.
Zechariah had been mute since Gabriel’s vision. At the temple, he is able to speak again and begins with a prophecy about John. Zechariah speaks of what John will do. He will be a prophet and go before the Lord to prepare his ways. John will give his people knowledge of salvation.
Will he use words to do so? Sure. But we recognize what his ministry meant by recalling what he did. Jesus said “among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). Why? Because of what he did.
As Christians, we speak often of the things we say we believe. Naming our beliefs is helpful, no doubt. What we do with our lives, however, speaks more clearly what Jesus means to us. Do actions speak louder than words? Not always, but often enough.
Enough that in Zechariah’s prophecy we see much more of what God did than hear of what God said. Even the oath God made with Abraham included the charge for God’s people to serve God without fear.
Do we do that with words? Sometimes, we do. Still, we should pay closer attention to what we actually do as a result of what we say we believe.