Advent Series Day 15: Luke 1:39-55

December 20, 2017

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:39-55

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

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Explanation and Meditation:

With Mary’s faith-filled obedience to God’s message, she removed the shame of Eve and brought salvation into the world. Sometimes, I wish I could give young Mary a hug and tell her, “Well done, Mary!” In today’s reading, her very pregnant relative gets to do just that. When Mary arrives, both Elizabeth and her baby are filled with the Holy Spirit. The unborn John the Baptist excitedly leaps inside his mother’s womb and Elizabeth begins to prophesy. She blesses Mary because of her exalted position as mother of her Lord. And then she blesses Mary for her faith and obedience.

What happens next is likely a result of Elizabeth’s spirit-filled encouragement. Mary–her own spirit soaring–opens her mouth and begins to speak a beautiful hymn of praise to God. In her Magnificat, as this hymn has come to be called, she acknowledges her own unworthiness of this honor for which God has singled her out. And she speaks of her gratitude for his mercy. As she speaks, we see just how familiar with the Scriptures she is. Mary recognizes that God has a history of exalting the humble and humbling the proud and she rightly identifies that this babe inside her womb is the fulfillment of God’s ancient promise to Abraham.

Why should Mary receive such an honor? And why should the “Son of the Most High” be humbled in this way–to become a baby, to be born to humble people in humble circumstances and in a humble town? But this is God’s way. He uses the weak things of the world to shame the mighty (I Cor. 1:27). Mary understood this truth and rejoiced in it. And so all who would be lifted up in God’s mercy must first humble themselves and embrace this baby.

Song of Reflection: He Who is Mighty

Oh, the mercy our God has shown
To those who sit in death’s shadow
The sun on high pierced the night
Born was the Cornerstone

Unto us a Son is given
Unto us a Child is born

He Who is mighty has done a great thing
Taken on flesh, conquered death’s sting
Shattered the darkness and lifted our shame
Holy is His name

Oh, the freedom our Savior won
The yoke of sin has been broken
Once a slave, now by grace
No more condemnation

Unto us a Son is given
Unto us a Child is born

He Who is mighty has done a great thing
Taken on flesh, conquered death’s sting
Shattered the darkness and lifted our shame
Holy is His name

Bridge
Now my soul magnifies the Lord
I rejoice in the God Who saves
I will trust His unfailing love
I will sing His praises all my days

He Who is mighty has done a great thing
Taken on flesh, conquered death’s sting
Shattered the darkness and lifted our shame
Holy is His name
Holy is His name

 

 

 

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