Scripture: Luke 1:39-56 (alternate reading: John 16:20-23)
39 In those days Mary arose and went with
haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she
entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when
Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb;
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed
with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the
fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother
of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the voice of
your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a
fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
46 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel,in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” 56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
God gives us supernatural joy with hope in his promises
There is a certain paradox for those "blessed" by the Lord. Mary was given the "blessedness" of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. Anselm, a great teacher and Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), spoke these words in a homily: "Without God's Son nothing could exist; without Mary's son, nothing could be redeemed." To be chosen by God is an awesome privilege and responsibility. Mary received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. Her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises.
Jesus promised his disciples that "no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take away. Do you know the joy of a life given over to God in faith and trust?
They were filled with the Holy Spirit
What is the significance of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth before the birth of Jesus? When Elizabeth greeted Mary and recognized the Messiah in Mary's womb they were filled with the Holy Spirit and with a joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promise to give a Savior. What a marvelous wonder for God to fill not only Elizabeth's heart with his Holy Spirit but the child in her womb as well. John the Baptist, even before the birth of the Messiah, pointed to his coming and leaped for joy in the womb of his mother as the Holy Spirit revealed to him the presence of the King to be born.
The Lord wants to fill each of us with his Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is God's gift to us to enable us to know and experience the indwelling presence of God and the power of his kingdom. The Holy Spirit is the way in which God reigns within each of us. Do you live in the joy and knowledge of God's indwelling presence with you through his Holy Spirit?
"Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me joy in seeking you more earnestly. Increase my faith in all your promises, my hope in the joy of heaven, and my love for You as my All."
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a
flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh! Stir up your might, and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,
15 the stock which your right hand planted.
17 But let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you hast made strong for yourself!
18 Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name!
19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: John prophecies from the womb, by Maximus of Turin (died between 408-423 AD)"Not yet born, already John prophesies and, while still in the enclosure of his mother's womb, confesses the coming of Christ with movements of joy - since he could not do so with his voice. As Elizabeth says to holy Mary, 'As soon as you greeted me, the child in my womb exulted for joy.' John exults, then, before he is born. Before his eyes can see what the world looks like, he can recognize the Lord of the world with his spirit. In this regard, I think that the prophetic phrase is appropriate: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you came forth from the womb I sanctified you' (Jeremiah 1:5). Thus we ought not to marvel that after Herod put him in prison, he continued to announce Christ to his disciples from his confinement, when even confined in the womb he preached the same Lord by his movements." (excerpt from SERMON 5.4)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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