Luke 1:26-56 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Birth of Jesus Foretold
Comments for Study 2

Luke 1:26-56
Memory Verse: 32

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I. You Who Are Highly Favored! (26-30)

>1. What is the time background of this passage? (John 1:46; Is. 9:1)

* Luke 1:26 "In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee"

* John 1:46 ""Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip."

* Isaiah 9:1 "Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan"

* "In the sixth month" -"Sixth month" here is the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy. This is not in the sixth month of the year for Luke doesn't refer to months in the rest of his book nor in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

* "Nazareth" -Nazareth was famous for wild men not holy men according to Nathanael. (John 1:46) Nazareth was a small town on a major trade route. Being on a major trade route brought in many strangers and Gentiles. It would be hard to keep faith and purity in such an environment. Also being a small town made it easy for everyone to know everyone and everything about each other. Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament anywhere, but the area is referenced. (Isaiah 9:1) Poor Jews lived in towns like Nazareth. Many Jews left Judea to escape first the Syrian and then the Roman oppression. Mary and Joseph's family must have moved to this area because of the oppression.

* "Galilee" -Galilee is a place name meaning, circle or region.” The northern part of Palestine above the hill country of Ephraim and the hill country of Judah (Joshua 20:7). The Septuagint or early Greek translation referred to a king of the nations of Galilee in Joshua 12:23, though the Hebrew reads, “Gilgal.” Many scholars see the Greek as original. This would indicate a leader of a coalition of city-states whom Joshua defeated. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

Nazareth in Galilee

* See a picture of modern Nazareth to the right. On a cypress clad hill, near the great trade route from Damascus to Egypt and on the edge of the Plain of Jezreel, lies the home of Jesus and his family (Luke 1:26; Mark 6:3). It was here that he lived from the time his parents brought him back from Egypt until the beginning of his public ministry. In this lovely countryside he learned the parables of nature, the time of sowing and harvest, growth and decay. Yet it was in Nazareth that Jesus was later to find no faith in himself: "A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house" (Mark 6:4). (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>What was Mary's human situation? (27)

* Luke 1:27 "to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary."

* "virgin" -A virgin is pure in body, heart, and mind, but it does not say that she was without sin. From her response we can see she had extra-ordinary faith. Matthew 1:25 indicates that after Jesus was born Mary and Joseph united and had children. James, Joseph, Simon, Judas, and Jude are names of sons of Mary by Joseph. They also had daughters. (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19; Jude 1:1)

* The virgin birth is important because it means Jesus was born without the natural sin of Adam's race. Jesus has nothing to do with Adam's sin. Jesus is called the second Adam.

Jesus is the perfect sacrifice because he alone is of the seed of God. His blood alone in the entire human race is and was pure. As Paul says he is the second (last) Adam. (1 Cor. 15:22, 45) Leviticus 17:11-12a states, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." Hebrews 9:22b states, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

In his book, The Chemistry of the Blood, M. R. DeHann, M.D. explains the origin of blood: “The blood which flows in an unborn babe's arteries and veins is not derived from the mother but is produced within the body of the fetus It is only after the sperm has entered the ovum and a fetus begins to develop that blood appears. As a very simple illustration of this, think of the egg of a hen. An non-fertilized egg is simply an ovum on a much larger scale than the human ovum. You may incubate this non-fertilized hen's egg, but it will never develop. It will dry up completely but no chick will result. But let that egg be fertilized by the introduction of the male sperm and incubation will bring to light the presence of life in an embryo. After a few hours it visibly develops. In a little while red streaks occur, denoting the presence of blood According to scientists from the time of conception to the time of birth not ONE SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD ever passes from mother to child The mother contributes no blood at all.”

Jesus pure blood was not conveyed by his mother, the daughter of sinful Adam. Rather, it was conveyed by the pure seed of his Heavenly Father!

Centrioles are supplied by the father's sperm. A centriole is the center of a centrosome and is a minute protoplasmic body. Plasma is the fluid part of blood and protoplasm is organized living matter, the fluid complex of the living nucleus that is often designated the physical basis of life. The basis of life is in the father's protoplasmic seed: a seed made of fluid and plasma water and blood. Jesus came by just such a seed. John tells us there is one who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ (1 John 5:6) John also tells us that when Jesus died he saw the blood and water come out of Jesus side separately, thus marking his death. (Source, In Search of Israel by Batya Wootten.)

Through his act of love Jesus bride was cleansed of sin by his pure blood. (Rom. 4:25) Thus, Jesus was able to re-establish the lost love relationship with his bride. God and anyone in the human race who wants it can have a relationship again. As a symbol of this, when Jesus died on the cross, the curtain that separated the most holy of holies from the place where priests could stand in the temple in Jerusalem was torn in two. (Matt. 27:51) The curtain was the symbol of sin separating God from his people. With Jesus death for his bride, sin was removed and thus no longer would Jesus be separated from his bride. (Col. 1:19-21)

* Luke, the author, was a physician and had full understanding and knowledge of what he was stating when he claimed Mary was a virgin. Many though the centuries did not believe that Mary physically a virgin. Luke, being a doctor could have the same objections, but did not. He upheld the fact that Mary knew no man though sexual means.

* "pledged to be married" -Mary probably had happy thoughts of marriage and a new family on her mind. God was about to intervene in her dreams for a family in ways that she would never had thought of. God wants to work in our lives, improving on our dreams and plans.

* "pledged" -In ancient Jewish society to be pledge to be married was a one year term of legal marriage without coming together. The husband would create an environment for a family to be raised in during this one year period. During this time they would spiritually ready their hearts for the responsibility to come.

When Jesus came in the flesh two thousand years ago the Jewish marriage practices were different then the practices of marriage in much of the world today. In those days when children were very young the parents of two families would decide who their children's prospective spouse would be. The children were too young to know what was going on. Then when the two children became of a certain age they would be betrothed as bride and bridegroom for one year. Today's engagement time is similar to the betrothed year, but there are distinct differences. (Ex. 22:16, Deuteronomy 22:13-30, Matt. 1:18, Luke 1:27, 2:5)

During the one year the betrothed bride and bridegroom were considered legally married. Yet they would not live together, nor have sex together. They would not leave their parent's families until the year was concluded. Before they were married they were to be sanctified as Israel was sanctified before they married the Lord at Mount Sinai. (Ex. 19:10-14) The brides became sanctified by having the ceremonial mikvah (water immersion). While they were betrothed the couple must remain pure and devoted to each other. The bridegroom would prepare a house for them to raise a family in, and the bride would take care of the bridegroom's needs. At any time during the betrothal year if the bride decided that she didn't want to be married to the bridegroom, she could call the marriage off and there would be a legal separation.

When they were finally married there would be two witnesses, friends of the bridegroom. Their role was to prepare the bride and escort her to meet the groom underneath the chupath (wedding canopy) where the marriage would occur. Moses was the witness who led Israel to the Lord at Mount Sinai where a canopy of smoke circled the mountain top. (Ex. 19)

When they married they would have a ketuba (marriage contract/covenant) which states the terms and conditions of the marriage; the Lord and Israelis is Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26. During a traditional Jewish wedding the couple would state their love for each other as the Lord and Israel did at Mount Sinai. (Ex. 19:4-8) The marriage was completed (kiddushin meaning sanctified) when the bridegroom gave something of value to the bride and she accepted it, usually a ring that had a precious stone on it if he could afford it. Then there would be a great wedding banquet, a feast was held which lasted several days. (John 2:1-11)

* "to be married" -In ancient Palestine small towns people often married young because their life was hard and people died early.

* "Mary" -Mary means "exalted" or "bitter". Mary is Greek a transliteration of the Hebrew word "Miriam".

* Mary was an average Jewish girl who had average dreams. What made her different was her faith. She probably had no great ambitions for growing up in a small town in harsh times often stifles a person's ambitions. She didn't expect anything like this to happen.

* "Joseph" -Joseph means "adding".

* "a descendant of David" -Luke states that Joseph was a descendant of David, an important fact. David was promised one of his descendants would sit on his throne eternally. (2 Samuel 7:12-17) Luke records Jesus' genealogy in Luke 3:23-38. See question 3 for more information.

* Mary, a young poor country girl would have been considered by anyone important in her day totally useless for any important service, especially in God's service. Yet God chose her and used her in one of the most demanding and special services ever asked of anyone.

An angel visits Mary

* See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.

>2. What did it mean when the angel said that Mary had found favor with God? (28)

* Luke 1:28 "The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

* "Highly favored" -God chose to use Mary as his instrument. When God's gives us his favor it is life giving work. Favors are granted freely and undeserving. They are one sided actions. So this act does not give us reason to worship Mary. (Luke 11:27, 28) "Favor" here is also used in Galatians 1:6 where it is interpreted as "glorious grace".

* Mary was ready to bear this grace. She did not earn it, but the angel didn't appear to a street prostitute to give this message.

* "The Lord is with you." -The Lord watched her. He would be in her heart, in her life, and in her womb. He loved her and cared for her.

* Jesus promised us that he would be with us to the very end of the age too. (Matthew 28:20)

>What specific mission did God give Mary? (29-31)

* Luke 1:29-31 "Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."

* "greatly troubled at his words" -Mary was not afraid because of his appearance. Rather she was troubled because of his words. He was Gabriel, an angel that looked like a man as was the case of Zechariah in the previous chapter, Daniel, and the angels that visited Abraham before Sodom was destroyed. So his appearance did not startle her.

* "and wondered" -Mary kept listening to what the angel had to say. She waited to ask questions until she heard all of this words.

* "what kind of greeting" -The common greeting was "shalom" meaning "peace".

* "Do not be afraid" -God gave her comfort through the angel's words. Fear is a common reaction when angels appeared to deliver messages.

* God gives the mission not man nor angel. However, occasionally men and angels are the instrument of the message of mission giving.

* Mary had just received her lifetime mission.

BLESSINGS OF THIS MISSION:
    1) Mary was just an ordinary young country girl. Now she will be the mother of Jesus, the Messiah.
    2) Being his mother gave the blessing of seeing and hearing Jesus more than anyone.
    3) She was the only mother to have a perfect son. Which may have been hard to bear at some times.
    4) The relationship between Mary and Jesus, being mother-son, was different than any one else would have.
    5) She saw the glory of God daily. She understood how God had fulfilled his will, the will that many had waited to be fulfilled.
    6) God sets his people up in time of need.
    7) She would forever be remembered as the mother of Jesus. She deserved respect, but not worship.
    8) She would continually be an example to follow even after Jesus' birth and after her death.

CROSS OF MISSION:
    1) Her husband to be would not understand. So there was a possibility that she would not be able to marry Joseph.
    2) Her neighbors and family wouldn't understand.
    3) When he left for mission she would miss her son and would want him back, as any mother would.
    4) Humanly she didn't need the troubles that this mission would bring.
    5) She would have to give birth in a stable.
    6) She would have to suddenly make a journey to Egypt.
    7) Joseph died early perhaps due to the hardships his mission would have.
    8) She saw Jesus die on the cross as a public criminal.
    9) Once she made this decision she could not go back.

* Glory (God's grace) is in the mist of suffering due to the mission of our own cross. We shouldn't be blinded by our suffering and become discouraged. Jesus said all who follow him must carry their own cross. (Luke 14:27)

* Blessings aren't impersonal. The cross isn't impersonal.

* God's favor does not mean immediate success or fame. When God calls you and your life situation does not change, or even gets worse remember Mary's life of faith and be encouraged.

* "You are to give him the name Jesus" -God did not ask permission in naming the child. Some people could not accept this, even if they were receiving a blessing. Naming someone shows ownership and authority over someone. Some selfish religious people use this verse and others to justifying naming other people's children. However, most of the time in scriptures the parents named their children. (Genesis 25:25-26, 35:18, 38:29-30, 41:51)

* "Jesus" -Jesus is the Greek form of "Joshua" and "Yeshua" which means "The LORD saves". (Matthew 1:29) In recent years some who want to become Jews object to using the Greek form of his name, claiming the Hebrew is what God wants us to use. However, they forget that the gospels were written in Greek and most of the apostles learned and studied from the Greek Septuagint (Old Testament written in the third century B.C.). The average Jew in that time could not read Hebrew well if at all, and spoke mostly Aramaic and/or Greek. Saying Jesus is not against scripture and neither is saying Yeshua.

* Joshua was an archetype (prototype) of Jesus. Joshua lead the Israelites into the promised land. Jesus leads his people to the promised eternal promised land and life. Joshua conquered Israel's enemies. Jesus conquered our spiritual enemies. When Joshua finished his work Israel was at rest. When Jesus comes again and finishes his work we will find rest in his Millennium kingdom and his eternal kingdom.

* A person's name is more important than people today realize. Ancient people's understood that a person's name not only defined their character, but represented their power, position, and being. Joshua was an common name because of this. When people learned of Jesus' name they would have taken notice. People were healed and demon came out at the mention of Jesus' name.

* Moses parents noticed that he too was special from birth. (Exodus 2:2)

Gabriel visits Mary

* The engraving to the right is by Richard Stanyhurst, 1547-1618. The angel Gabriel visits Mary and announces that she will give birth to Jesus, as a dove representing the Holy Spirit descends from above. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

II. His Kingdom Will Never End (32-38)

>3. How is his Messiahship described in the angel's message? (32-33, Psalm 110:4; Micah 5:2b)

* Luke 1:32-33 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

* Psalm 110:4 "The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.""

* Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

* "He will be great" -Jesus is great in many ways. He save people from sin and death. Jesus was not a worldly savior or king, but a spiritual savior and king. He is the lasting Savior for all time and for all men who call on his name.

* "Son of the Most High" -Jesus is God incarnate. God's being become flesh. Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 3:8, 4:15, 5:5-13, 20; 2 John 1:9; Rev. 2:18) Jesus' identity is so important for us to accept. The following verses confirm Jesus deity: Luke 20:41-44; John 1:1-3, 14; 8:58-59, 14:8-9, 19:7, 20:31; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:3.

* "God will give him the throne of his father David" -The religious leaders of the day understood clearly from 2 Samuel 7:12 and Psalm 89:29 that the Messiah would be a descendant of David. The Messiah's kingship is a theocracy. Only the Messiah is called the son of David. No prophet, priest, or other person would ever be called the son of David by God. God established David's kingdom; but it was a temporary kingdom in the human sense of a kingdom. God promised David that one of his descendent would be forever king in an eternal kingdom. David's kingdom, as men see it was destroyed by the Babylonians. But Jesus reigns spiritually, forever inheriting David's throne. Daniel, the prophet was told, "In the time of those kings, (Roman) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands--a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces." (Daniel 2:44-45)

* "house of Jacob" -All people who will be redeemed through Jesus alone is the house of Israel. (Romans 9:6-18)

* "his kingdom will never end" -Jesus is the king, eternal king. He rules over his people. This truth is not affected by people opinions. He is King regardless of how people respond to him.

* Matthew 1:22-23 "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."

>4. How did the angel help Mary to understand the work of the Holy Spirit? (34-35)

* Luke 1:34-35 ""How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

* "How will this be" -Mary inquired how she could have a son when she was a virgin. She may have been concerned that Gabriel, who looks like a man wanted to be the father. Perhaps she wondered if Joseph could be the father and how this would affect her relationship with Joseph. She wasn't doubting God's ability. Rather who would be the father. Mary had a willing heart. It is interesting that Mary asked only about this and not about the other things the angel said, perhaps because almost all Jews of these days knew a lot about the Messiah. She was asking for God direction in fulfilling this prophecy. She had a good spirit of inquiry. It is acceptable and important to have discernment in what others are asking and saying.

* Mary's question in verse 34, is in a different circumstance than Zechariah's question in verse 18 and therefore a righteous question. Zechariah had been praying for a long time for a son; Mary didn't pray to be mother of the Messiah. Zechariah had many Bible studies and was mature. Therefore, Zechariah's words were based on doubt; where Mary simply accepted by faith.

* Mary was a teenager. In those days life expectancy was short and hard. So they married young when they were strong.

* "The Holy Spirit will come upon you" -The third person of the trinity.

* "the power of the Most High will overshadow you" -"Most High" in the original Greek is "Hypsistos" referring to God the Father. Overshadow implies that God would impregnate her through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.

* "So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." -Jesus is the Son of God, the second in the trinity. The angel gives a clear definition of what the term "Son of God" means.

* Some claim that Mary intended to and did remain a virgin for eternity. Why then would she marry? Mary's question and the angel's words do not support Mary's eternal virginity.

>Why was Elizabeth's case a good example for Mary to understand the work of God? (36)

* Luke 1:36 "Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month."

* Elizabeth's pregnancy displayed the work of God. It was a miracle too. She was old, well respected as being devout, and a relative. She was a practical reinforcement of just believing.

* "Even Elizabeth your relative" -Elizabeth was her aunt, great aunt, or cousin. Therefore, Mary's mother, grandmother, or great grandmother must have been a Levite for Elizabeth was a priest. Mary's father was of Judah.

* Jesus and John the Baptist were cousins. So they must have meet in their youth. Later John would confess that he would not have recognized that Jesus was the Messiah if the one who sent him to preach and baptise said that the Messiah would have the Holy Spirit come down on him when he was baptised. (John 1:33)

* Nothing is impossible for God, even miraculous conceptions. (Genesis 18:14)

>What was the basis of Mary's decision? (38)

* Luke 1:38 ""I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her."

* "I am the Lord's servant" -Mary's decision was based on her position. Mary decided that she was the Lord's servant. A servant believes the master's word and according to his word does the master's will. A servant is ready to go. A servant doesn't have to understand everything, they just have to do.

This is Mary's statement of faith. Without understanding it God's mission is hard to accomplish by man's standard, but not by God's. But faith we can overcome obstacles. Accepting God's will and emptying oneself are often the same and coincide. Obeying is not easy and for a person of God it is an unavoidable pain. But it leads to righteousness and blessing. Mary was prepared for whatever would happen because of this decision because she trusted God. A rebellious person would not accept because they don't trust God.

We cannot and should not use this to put absolute trust in a man or woman who calls themselves a servant of God. A long time ago I was in a group who had some leaders who wanted absolute trust and obedience because they called themselves "servants of God". This verse does not promote such demands. Mary trusted God, not the angel.

* Being God's chosen instrument often means giving up or at least being willing to give up our own ideas and dreams.

* Mary had a proper attitude. She didn't regard herself as higher than she really was.

* Gabriel didn't push Mary to accept. She accepted the responsibility and privilege. Why didn't he push? So Mary would decide on her own by faith.

* Our life will change when we accept God's will for us, his blessing and guidance.

* God's call is greater than our small dreams.

* Accepting God's calling puts us in the spiritual war.

* Mary did not plan or even think she was a special and great person. She just accepted God's call for her life and God did the rest.

>5. Why did she decide to visit Elizabeth? (36-37)

* Luke 1:36-37 "Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

* The angel had mentioned about Elizabeth's condition. The angel didn't tell her to go there. This shows that the word of God was in Mary's heart and overshadowed the troubles ahead of her. We need to hold onto God's words in times of trouble.

* Seeing the work of God in others encourages us.

* Mary's trip would have been hard for several reasons. First she probably had little or no money. Second, travelling while pregnant even in early stages isn't easy. Third, she didn't know how Elizabeth would receive her. Fourth, she would have to travel by herself. Yet she went anyway.

>In what ways did Elizabeth help Mary's decision of faith? (42-45)

* Luke 1:42-45 "In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

* "Blessed" -Repeated three times in Elizabeth's words. Elizabeth blessed Mary three times.

* Elizabeth recognized God behind Mary.

* The Holy Spirit gave her understanding during her seclusion which had prayer and Bible study.

* Elizabeth's response tells us that she had to study the angel's words to Zechariah and in the Bible.

* Elizabeth had a humble attitude. She could have been jealous. Mary was a younger country girl and Elizabeth was of the priestly line. So she could of have seen Mary from a human level and human position.

* Later Elizabeth's explanation to others could help them accept Mary's pregnancy.

* "the mother of my Lord" -Elizabeth claimed that Jesus was her Lord. "Lord" here is the Greek "kyrios".

III. My Soul Praises the Lord (39-56)

>6. What shows Mary's excitement? (39-40)

* Luke 1:39-40 "At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth."

* "hurried" -Mary did not waste time in seeing Elizabeth.

* "a town in the hill country of Judea" -The priest lived close to Jerusalem, within a days walk. Mary lived in Galilee. The average Jew avoided Samaria when going back and forth from Galilee to Judea. they took the route along the Jordan River.

* Mary's visit to Elizabeth was unannounced.

>How did the Holy Spirit speak through Elizabeth to confirm God's plan for Mary? (41-45)

* Luke 1:41-45 "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

* When Elizabeth greeted Mary as she did in verses 42 and 43 the blessing that the angel proclaimed to her was confirmed. Then Mary could more fully accept it and praise God.

* "Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit" -When Elizabeth spoke she was a prophetess. Before Pentecost the Holy Spirit would fill and work through various people at various times as God willed.

* "loud cry" -Shows excitement due to the Holy Spirit not the baby's leap.

* "the baby in my womb leaped for joy" -John was filled with the Holy Spirit from conception.

* "the mother of my Lord" -Elizabeth believed that Mary's son was the Messiah, the one her son would proceed.

* Elizabeth's revelation that Jesus was the Messiah was not passed onto John. John had to learn himself. (John 1:32) The true identity of Jesus is so sole work of God on an individual basis. Each generation has to come to understand and accept him on a personal basis.

* "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" -Mary was blessed because she believed. Jesus would tell Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you believed; blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

* Blessing others decision of faith is good and wise.

Mary visits Elizabeth

* The engraving to the right is by Martin Luther, 1483-1546. Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth after finding out they are both pregnant. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>What word of God enabled Mary to sing a song of praises? (32, 45; and 1 Sam. 2:1-10)

* Luke 1:32 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,"

* Luke 1:45 "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

* 1 Samuel 2:1-10 was Hannah's song of praise. After being barren and being put down by her enemy. Mary's song of praise is very similar.

* Elizabeth was a confirmation of the angel's words.

* Mary knew the Bible. Hannah's song was probably songs that women sang throughout the ages.

>7. Who was God to Mary? (46-47)

* Luke 1:46-47 "And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior'"

* "the Lord" -Mary claimed that Jesus was her Lord. "Lord" here is the Greek "kyrios".

* "God my Savior" -The original Greek is "Theos mou Soter".

* Mary needed a Savior because she was a sinner like the rest of us. Is Jesus your Savior?

* Mary called God her Savior. It was personal. Therefore, she needed a savior from her personal sins. She was not without sin.

>What does it mean to be blessed by God? (48)

* Luke 1:48 "for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,"

* "the humble state of his servant" -She meant God hand of mercy was on her and she was used by God even though she didn't deserve it.

* "will call me blessed" -She was blessed because she was used in God's history in a unique way.

* To be blessed by God isn't usually because of worldly things that happen in one's life; wealth, health, beautiful wife and children, good looks, ect. Rather being bless is being used by God.

* Mary emphasized and praised God. She didn't recognize or over emphasize God letting her bear the Son of God.

* Mary's song is similar to Hannah's song (1 Sam. 2:1-10) as well as Moses and Miriom's song (Ex. 15:1-21) The Holy Spirit inspired Mary to say what she knew.

* God's blessing is from God. It is eternal. It is irrevocable. It starts in the heart.

* Worldly blessings last only a short time such as riches and comfort. Worldly blessings have the curse of the Lord.

* Blessing is based on our relationship with God through his one and only Son.

Mary visits Elizabeth

* See to the right; Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth after finding out they are both pregnant. The artist, Jacques Stella (1596-1657), and the engraver, H. David, are responsible for the etching. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>8. What do verses 49-53 teach us about God and his character?

* Luke 1:49-53 "for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty."

* Mary knew about God's character and his way of working?
    First, there are three things mentioned about his character.
       1) God is mighty (powerful). "'For the Mighty One has done great things for me.'" (49)
       2) God is holy. "'holy is his name.'" (49)
       3) God is merciful. 'his mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.'"
    Second, there are his general way of working. These are contrasts.
       1) "'he has scattered those who are proud in their inner most thoughts.'" (51)
       2) "'He has brought down rulers from their thrones...'" (52a)
       3) "'...but has lifted up the humble.'" (52b)
       4) "'he has filled the hungry with good things.'" (53a)
       5) "'...but has sent the rich away empty.'" (53b)

* "holy is his name" -God's holiness is a root characteristic that is overlooked by the ungodly, and even amongst many of God's people. Holy means separate, unique, pure, powerful, and absolute.

* It is good to remember God's mercy and exclaim it publicly.

* According to Mary's opening words in verses 46 and 47 God and the Savior (Messiah) are one and the same and therefore these verses teach about both at the same time.

* It is not as man thinks.

* "his mercy extends to those who fear him" -God's mercy concerns our misery. If we fear God he gives us mercy.

* "he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts" -Those who are proud mock when people accept God's will. God knows our inmost thoughts. Ask God to remove pride from you.

* "he has lifted up the humble" -This is repeated many times in the Bible. This promise is opposite of what the world thinks.

>What do verses 54-56 teach us about the faithfulness of God?

* Luke 1:54-56 "He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home."

* "He has helped his servant Israel" -Mary included all of Israel not just those of Judah.

* "remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever" -God had made promises to Abraham that could only be fulfilled through the Messiah.

* "even as he said to our fathers" -The prophets delivered one promise after another to the Israelites.

* God kept his promise to Abraham and his descendants. Mary knew of God promises. Mary must of had good Bible studies. Mary's sense of history was from God's point of view not man's point of view. Nor was is it from her point of view. To God's people man is not the center of history.

* Where Zechariah doubted, Mary accepted. Where Sarah laughed, Mary believed. We should never doubt God's power to do anything. Jesus taught, "What is impossible for man is possible for God."

>9. How can we sing songs of praises to God and know the joy reflected in this song? (Romans 8:6; Colossians 3:16)

* Romans 8:6 "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;"

* Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

* Eve verses Mary. Source of the curse verses the source of blessings. Who would you want to be?

>10. What did Mary wait for before he went back home? (24, 26a, 56)

* Luke 1:24 "After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion."

* Luke 1:26a "In the sixth month..."

* Luke 1:56 "Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home."

* Mary stayed with Elizabeth until John the Baptist was born. But left just as he was born. The event of a new baby would bring many visitors. Mary's pregnancy would have been visible. She did not want to say and bring about questions. Some believe that she left just before he was born.

* When Mary returned to Nazareth her pregnancy would have been visible.

>What does this say about her character?

* Mary was kind and helpful.

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