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Sunday, December 5, 2010

12/6/10 Luke 1:39-45 Reaction to Mary

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
(NIV 2010)

Thoughts: This is part of the "Hail Mary" that the catholics repeat.  When Elizabeth hear Mary's voice the baby inside her (John the Baptist) apparently reacts showing first signs of life- it kicked- even lept.  This was a leap of life and of joy.  Doubtless Elizabeth and Zechariah were curious about their baby's health, but now they were reassured.  We do not need to stretch the passage's meaning, for the plain meaning is very powerful: Elizabeth prophesied that the baby inside Mary would be the Lord.  The ultimate blessing of motherhood/womanhood would be to be the mother of the messiah.  Mary should be honored by all especially being the mother of our Lord, and that she believed the promises given her (1:45).  But the real message focuses on the child- who would be blessed, and was the Lord in the flesh. We all need to stand in Mary's shoes of believing the promises of God. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to believe as Mary did.  Help me to be re-energized and quickened in your presence in worship.  May my heart leap for joy for you.

John Calvin abridged:  Mary went to see Elizabeth in part to strengthen her faith and to celebrate the grace of God which they had both received.  It is too much to say that the babe inside Elizabeth was moved by faith or piety.  It is enough to say that the babe was moved by the Holy Spirit.  Elizabeth was also filled with the Holy Spirit so that she could prophesy.  Elizabeth does not elevate Mary above Christ, but points out that the favor and blessing is from God.  The name "Lord" belongs to the Son of God.  Mary is declared blessed because she believed.  True human happiness lies in our believing the message of God.

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