Sunday, November 24, 2013

MARY: Luke 1:26-56

DAY 24: MARY                         
Link: Luke 1:26-56                     

Here is an audio version of me telling the story: ANGELS VISIT MARY AND JOSEPH                  
Symbol: Mary

Mary describes herself as a “bond slave of the Lord” (Luke 1:38). She is honored to do His will. Mary is a good example of a humble heart that God can work through. In her song of praise to God (Luke 1:46-55), Mary quotes 15 Old Testament Scriptures, showing how familiar she was with those Scriptures. Jesus was to be reared in a home where humble parents ought to follow God’s word. Can we give our children the same privilege? 

Song: "Silent Night"


BBC BACKGROUND: Luke 1




Paolo de Matteis - The Annunciation
"The Annunciation" By Paolo de Matteis (Saint Louis Art Museum official site) 
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
An angel promises the birth of Jesus to Mary: Luke 1:26-38

Mary was a poor, young girl (some commentators think as young as 12 or 13) from Nazareth, and God chose her to be the mother of the Messiah. WOW! The Greek word for "highly favored" comes from the root word charis, "grace." Mary was a recipient of God's special grace.


Note that Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid" to both Zechariah and Mary. He also told her of her Son's special characteristics, as he did to Zechariah. He was to be the "Son of the Most High":

The Septuagint often used the term “Most High” (hypsistou) to translate the Hebrew ‘elyôn (cf. v. 76). Mary could not have missed the significance of that terminology. The fact that her Baby was to be called the “Son of the Most High” pointed to His equality with Yahweh. In Semitic thought a son was a “carbon copy” of his father, and the phrase “son of” was often used to refer to one who possessed his “father’s” qualities (e.g., the Heb. trans. “son of wickedness” in Ps. 89:22 [kjv] means a wicked person).  
(The Bible knowledge commentary: Volume 2 p. 205)
God promised David that his kingdom would last forever (2 Samuel 7:16). Jesus fulfilled this promise.  
The name Jesus is also very significant. It is the Greek form of the Hebrew name, Joshua, which means "the Lord saves." Joshua led the people into the promised land (Joshua 1:1, 2), and Jesus would lead His people to salvation.

Unlike Zechariah, Mary was not punished for her questioning.  She asked how Jesus would be born to her if she was a virgin, Gabriel must have known the heart behind her question.


Mary's response is so beautiful: “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  I wish we could all have that response to God's will! 


Some commentators believe that Luke must have interviewed Mary personally because this account is so personal, reflecting her deep inward feelings. 



Jacopo Pontormo 031
The Birth of John the Baptist by Jacopo Pontormo
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mary visits Elizabeth: Luke 1:39-56

Shortly after Gabriel's visit to Mary, she went to spend three months with her pregnant relative Elizabeth.  What joy and female bonding!


Luke frequently used the word "joy" in the two books he wrote (Luke and Acts). He often links this word with salvation. We have seen him use it in describing John the Baptist (1:14), and it is in full view in this section! John leaped for joy in Elizabeth's womb when Mary came carrying Jesus. Elizabeth responded in joy when she said that Mary was carrying the mother of her Lord. The term "Lord" (kyrios) was often used to describe Jesus in the book of Luke because "Christ" ("Messiah") would have not meant as much to his target audience, the Greeks, because they did not know all the prophecy leading up to His coming. 


Lastly, Mary responded in joy at carrying Jesus by singing a hymn of praise and quoting many Old Testament Scriptures (Psalms and Hannah's song in 1 Samuel 2:1-10).  This song is often called "The Magnificat" because the opening words, "My soul doth magnify the Lord," is Magnificat anima mea Dominum in Latin. Many beautiful pieces of music have been written to this music by composers like Vivaldi and Bach (I think I sang the Vivaldi version my freshman year in college). 


REFLECTION


I've never had an angel visit me, but this story brings back fond memories of a day during the Christmas season of 1991 when God told me that the baby due in January would be a boy.  Later that day, while driving to a performance of The Nutcracker, I told George about what God told me, and to my surprise, he said, "Carol, God told me the same thing this morning!" It was fun to tell our son that story on the way to see The Nutcracker again twenty years later! 

I think that this is confirmation that God does speak to us today, and we don't have to wait four hundred years for God to break through the silence.


APPLICATION

Here are some possible suggestion for application:

  • Spend some time listening to God. That means shutting out the busyness of your life to really find some solitude and silence.
  • Worshiping God as You pray through Mary's Magnificat!
  • Meditate on Jesus being redemption, salvation, forgiveness, and light for you.
PRAYER

Lord, I cannot study this and not believe that You are the LIGHT OF THE WORLD who came into my dark life.  Everything fits together so perfectly. Thank You for Your Word that shows us all of this. Amen. 
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