Joy and Humility
Preparation for his Birth
Day 14 Saturday, December 11th
1. Recognize the Context:
In Luke 1, Gabriel foretold John’s birth to Zechariah, and he responded with a lack of faith (1:5-20). Gabriel was also the messenger sent to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus. Mary responded by trusting in God (1:26-38). In verse 39, we see Gabriel's report moved Mary, and she went to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth (1:39-45).
2. Read the Scripture: Luke 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!”
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
Mary set out with fervor to see Elizabeth. We are not told the exact name of the town, but from Nazareth, the “hill country of Judea” would have been a three-day journey. Remember, she was pregnant as well. She arrived and greeted Elizabeth, who had been in seclusion (1:24).
Upon Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s unborn child “leaped” in her womb. This verb translated “leap” is the same word used in Genesis 25:22 (in the Greek translation of the Old Testament) to describe the activity in Rebecca’s womb between Jacob and Esau, which eventually foreshadowed their destinies. In Genesis 25, this movement was viewed negatively as a struggle between the twins. Here in Luke 1, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she interpreted her baby’s activity as an act of joy (1:44). So even in the womb, John began to fulfill his prophetic role and prepare the way of the Lord.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth pronounced a blessing on both Mary and her unborn child and recognized the favor of God she was experiencing in Mary's presence (1:42-43). In this pronouncement, she identified Mary's child with the title "Lord." This word appears 17 times in Luke 1, and here is the first occurrence referring to Jesus instead of God the Father. This usage identifies the link between the person and mission of the Father and the Son.
This section concludes with a final blessing acknowledging Mary’s faithfulness to the promises of God. In all of this, it should be remembered that the Holy Spirit had given Elizabeth knowledge and spoke through her. Remember, Zechariah had been muted for the duration of her pregnancy, so he was unable to inform her of his vision in the Temple and prophecy about John being filled with the Spirit, even before he was born (1:15).
4. Relate to life:
Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
Here in this story, we see the Holy Spirit take center stage. Today, prayerfully consider how the Spirit was at work in this passage.
On the one hand, the Spirit's work in this story is unique. On the other hand, we see from the broader context of Luke and Acts the Spirit at work in all believers. Prayerfully consider how you have seen the Holy Spirit at work in your life recently.
Consider the responses of joy and humility to the coming of Jesus from Elizabeth, Mary, and even John. Then, prayerfully consider what joy and humility might look like in your life today, in light of the person of Jesus.
To do: (With the Holy Sprit's help)
Given the prayer suggestions above, what can you incorporate into your life today? Be specific. Think specifically about the work of the Spirit in your life. Also, consider how joy and humility can characterize your life.
To study: (Always make sure to read the immediate context of the given passage.)
Use a concordance or a website like https://www.biblegateway.com/ and search other verses on joy, humility (humble), and the Holy Spirit.