Zechariah makes mention of salvation through forgiveness as he prophesies what his son will do. Luke 1: 77 You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.  Zechariah was a priest and would have known of the Old Testament prophesies of Messiah. Interestingly, the Holy Spirit emphasizes forgiveness in Zechariah’s prophecy.
Expecting a Political Messiah
At the time of Zechariah, the Romans dominated the political scene. Many Jews longed for the time when King David ruled and Israel was a world power. The Romans oppressed the Jews with high taxes. The ruler, Herod, only pretended to be a Jew which irritated Jewish leadership.
First-century Jews expected a conquering political ruler who would free them from Roman rule. They did not expect a baby born to a poor couple and laid in a manger. Nor did they expect an itinerant rabbi from a remote village in Galilee. They definitely did not expect the Messiah to die on the cross for their sins.
I think the disciples even struggled to understand the kind of Messiah Jesus was. In Mark 8, Jesus tells the disciples that He will suffer and die but rise again. Peter says this can’t be because this did not match his expectation of the Messiah. It would take the power of the Holy Spirit to help the disciples understand what Jesus had done.
Jesus Brings Rescue through Forgiveness
Forgiveness makes our reconciliation with God possible. 1 John 2: 1My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
“Salvation is God’s delivering us from the consequences of sin. Forgiveness is God’s erasing our sin debt. To use a financial illustration, forgiveness is God’s shredding of the documents that list our debt, and salvation is God’s letting us out of debtors’ prison.”
The Jews did not expect Jesus to come in the way He did, but God sent a Messiah the people needed. The forgiveness Jesus won makes our salvation possible. John 14: 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
To hear more about salvation through forgiveness, listen here: