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Two faithful women who believed the angel

December 16, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Luke 1:39-56

39 Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. 40 She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. 43 Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.”
46 Mary said,
“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
47     In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
49         because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
50     He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
51 He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
52     He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy,
55     just as he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her home.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Ellizabeth and Mary, at different ages, were living through amazing experiences that they couldn’t have imagined they would have. Pastor Hamilton retraced Mary’s route in the Holy Land and wrote, “I was surprised to discover that Mary’s journey to Elizabeth’s home would have taken her eight to ten days.” * Clearly Mary urgently needed to be with a person who could understand and encourage her. Gabriel pointed her in that direction when he told her what God was calling her to do (cf. Luke 1:36-37). Against their culture’s patriarchal background, Mary and Elizabeth had believed the angel’s message. “The courage and strength of [Mary and Elizabeth] provide encouragement for all who are called to bear new life into the world, whether through childbirth, creative leadership, healing work, friendship or any other vocation. When what we are to do seems impossible, overwhelming, or frightening, remember the words of Elizabeth to Mary [“Happy is she who believed”].” **

  • Even before Jesus’ birth, Elizabeth called him “Lord”: “Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (verse 43) Do you call Jesus “Lord”? If so, in what ways has Jesus’ lordship changed your life, and brought a different kind of joy into it? If not, what is stopping you from joining the family of people of faith who call him Lord? In Mary and Elizabeth’s culture, women were second-class citizens. But Mary poetically shared an expression of praise that said God had “looked with favor on the low status of his servant.” They were both living examples of that. God valued who they really were, no matter what their status in human society! Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord,” and rejoiced that her child would fulfill God’s promise to bring justice to an unjust world. How can you use your God-given gifts of time, talent, and/or finance to lift the burdens of those who are lowly in parts of life where you are strong?
Prayer

Lord, there’s still so much suffering and injustice in our world. Teach me how to sing “With all my heart I glorify the Lord,” not to deny the darkness, but to defy and challenge it in your power. Amen.

GPS Insights

Nick Ransom

Nick Ransom

Nick Ransom, Kids Ministries Director at the Leawood location, has a wife, 4 kids, and 1 crazy dog. His favorite snack is monster trail mix from Target.

It was almost 17 years ago that I accompanied my wife to the doctor’s office for an ultrasound to get a very early glimpse of our first child. We were typical first-time parents eager to see our baby for the first time. During the ultrasound the doctor change our lives with these words. She said: “I see 2, no I see 3 babies! You are going to have triplets!” I went into a state of disbelief, and I think I stayed that way for several weeks. If I’m completely honest the disbelief never really left until I held all 3 boys in my arms several months later.

Although not the best comparison, I can relate some to Mary and Elizabeth when the angel told them they were going to have a baby. I’m sure their shock and disbelief were off the charts and perhaps like me they couldn’t fully believe the angel’s message until they felt the baby kick or held their baby 9 months later.

We may not all encounter unexpected pregnancies, but life is not short of challenging surprises. When I read Mary’s words in Luke 1:46-55 a few things stick out to me when considering the challenging surprises, we sometimes face. First, find joy in the Lord and the love that is there. The easiest way I know to find grow is to express gratitude to the Lord. Second, when we declare Jesus is Lord, we claim the promise that there is strength in following a faithful God, I find that strength in prayer. Finally, God seems to be especially close to those that are going through the deepest valleys. What an amazing promise to hold onto. No matter how dark life seems, God is there walking next to us.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Adam Hamilton, The Journey: A Season of Reflections. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011, p. 78.
** Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, introductory note to Luke 1 in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1286.