Part of the plan (Luke 1 v 39-55)
There were no ante-natal or birth classes in first-century Israel. But the elderly mum-to-be Elizabeth and the pregnant teenager Mary did get together as they waited for their babies to be born. And it’s the first time we see the effect on people
of knowing that God’s Son has come to this world.
Read Luke 1:39
• How does Elizabeth describe Mary and her child (v 42)?
Here, it seems “blessed” = to know the satisfaction of being part of God’s plan.
• Why does Elizabeth describe Mary in this way (v 43, 45)?
Notice that Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit” (v 41). Here we’re seeing a godly, Spirit-filled response to the coming of God’s Son.
A baby’s leap
• How does Elizabeth’s baby react to the arrival of Mary with Jesus (v 41)?
• Why did he react like this (v 44)?
John started his part in God’s plan before he was even born! From the womb, he was pointing people to Jesus as the Lord and joy-giver.
Read Luke 1:46
Mary’s song is essentially in three parts. She speaks of what God has done for her as an individual (v 46-49); how God acts in the world (v 50-53); and what God is doing for His people (v 54-55).
• How do these three parts each help us see what Jesus “the Lord” has come to do?
• Who is Mary’s song all about?
• How is Mary a picture of what a “blessed” life looks like?
Mary never points to herself; she repeatedly points away from herself, towards God. And Elizabeth understands that Mary is “blessed … among women” (v 42) because of “the child you will bear”. Mary never sought nor encouraged praise of, or
prayer to, herself. She encourages us to glorify and rejoice in the great God, who has broken into history in the person of her son.
• Is your greatest satisfaction in life found in knowing that you’re part of God’s plan?
• Is your greatest joy in life found in knowing Jesus as your Lord?
Pray that today the centre of your life, and the motivation for your actions, would not be a desire for power (v 52), or gaining wealth (v 53), but knowing and serving “God my Saviour” (v 47).
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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