Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10/21- Luke 1:39-45; Elizabeth's Visitation

(Elizabeth's visitation- Overbeck 1789-1869)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

Lk. 1:39- 45
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!"

Calvin abridged: “Mary got ready”- Mary’s faith continues in response to the angel’s message even after the angel was gone. Why did she travel to see Elizabeth? Partly to increase and strengthen her faith, and partly to celebrate the grace of God which both had received. 41- “When Elizabeth heard” – It is natural that joy in a pregnant woman should cause motion in her child. But Luke indicates this was out of the ordinary. The baby John started in her womb, and she prophesied. 42- “Blessed are you among woman” Mary was blessed because of the blessedness of Jesus. Today the blessedness of Christ cannot be the subject of our praise, without reminding us of the blessedness of Mary too. 43- “Why am I so highly favored?” Some people like to delight beyond measure in themselves, and desire to shine alone, despising God’s gifts in their brothers and sisters. Others praise them so much that they are changed into idols. Elizabeth does not envy Mary, but rejoices with her, ascribing everything to God. “Mother of my lord” – Elizabeth ascribes praise to Christ inside Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. 45 “Blessed is she who has believed the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.” Mary was blessed because the Savior was also her own savior. Mary received by faith the blessing offered to her. The word (promises) and faith work together here. In the act of believing we give our assent to God who speaks his promises to us. So we infer that it doesn’t matter whether God uses angels or humans, He wishes equal honor be given to his Word as if he were visibly descending from heaven.

Thoughts: John was prophesying even from the womb. For the Savior of the world, but also of Elizabeth, John, and Mary was there. Some have thought that Mary went to celebrate God’s favor (as Calvin mentions), but also to escape derision or persecution in her hometown during Mary’s pregnancy. Even in the womb Jesus is bearing a powerful testimony to his salvation. It should not go unnoticed in our society that Mary was an unwed mother, and that it would have been easy in our society for Mary, if she had not believed the angel’s message, to have an abortion. God protected Jesus and used him even in the womb to change those around him. There is power in a baby to change people- bringing hope to a marriage, joy to a grandparent, and how much more this special baby.

Prayer: We are blessed, O Lord, by you. Thank you for coming to us, through Mary, that we might know you and be forgiven and filled by you.

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