FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT – Series C
Luke 1:39–45 (46–56)
The Lord Comes to Visit Us in Peace
Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy;
The Fourth Sunday in Advent turns our attention toward the Nativity of Our Lord. With Mary we await the coming of the Christ, her Son, conceived in her womb by the Spirit of God. As the Lord dealt graciously with her and did great things for her (Luke 1:48–49), so also He manifests Himself and His glory to us in mercy and gentleness. He comes to rule His people in peace, to “shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord.” He comes forth not from the great capital city of Rome or Jerusalem, but from lowly little Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, 4). He comes to sacrifice Himself, in fulfillment of His Father’s will, for the salvation and sanctification of His people (Hebrews 10:10). He who once visited Elizabeth while hidden in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:39–45), now comes to visit us today, hidden in the lowliness of simple water, bread and wine.
Luke 1:39 –
Ἀναστᾶσα δὲ Μαριὰμ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐπορεύθη εἰς τὴν ὀρεινὴν μετὰ σπουδῆς εἰς πόλιν Ἰούδα,
In the days(those days) of Mary and Elizabeth's pregnancy. She goes in haste.
The only action of Mary...everything else is Elizabeth.
2 Samuel 6, The ark and Mary are met with shouts of joy..."how should the ark come to me?" says David. Both the ark and Mary stay three months...notice the parallelism...”Savior of the nations come.”
Luke 1:40 –
καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον Ζαχαρίου καὶ ἠσπάσατο τὴν Ἐλισάβετ.
she entered the house of Zachariah and greeted Elizabeth.
A reversal? Shouldn't Elizabeth greet Mary? See if there a Jewish greeting..."what is the news of the day?" 'When I heard the sound of your greeting...'
Luke 1:41 –
καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἤκουσεν [a]τὸν ἀσπασμὸν τῆς Μαρίας ἡ Ἐλισάβετ, ἐσκίρτησεν τὸ βρέφος ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ αὐτῆς, καὶ ἐπλήσθη πνεύματος ἁγίου ἡ Ἐλισάβετ,
when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting (it happened) the baby- brephos- (John) - leapt and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit...
at that moment she is inspired...we can trust her message. Specifically applied here, not universal.
Mary asks - "how shall this be?"
Zachariah asks - "how shall I know?" Wrong question...he looks for proof outside of the Word.
Note: when Zachariah was to speak he should have spoken Aaron's benediction "the Lord bless...". Instead, he speaks, "blessed be the Lord..."
Luke 1:42 –
αὶ ἀνεφώνησεν [b]κραυγῇ μεγάλῃ καὶ εἶπεν• Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν, καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου.
In a loud voice, my means of a great cry...“blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you bear."
she offers here a prayer...descriptive...objective, different then the beatitudes of Matthew 5. Completely passive. “You are blessed by God...”
Luke 1:43 –
καὶ πόθεν μοι τοῦτο ἵνα ἔλθῃ ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ κυρίου μου πρὸς [c]ἐμέ;
why wherefore what do I owe this that am I favored that the mother of my Lord comes to me?
The zygote is my Lord.
John Jefferson Davis, in his book Evangelical Ethics, points out that the incarnation of Jesus Christ has an important role to play in affirming the value of human life (p. 158). He points out that the Creed places the beginning of the life of Christ not at birth but when “he was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”
Likewise, he references Hebrews 2:17 which applies the efficacy of the incarnation to the fact that “in all things He had to be made like his brethren.” Many of the early Church fathers understood the significance of this in terms of their Christology. The early maxim was ‘whatever is not assumed is not healed.’ Thus, God became a zygote in order to heal all zygotes. God became an embryo to heal all embryos. God became a fetus to heal all fetuses. God took upon himself the entirety of human nature from conception on. God became human to heal humanity. Thus, abortion, at any stage of pregnancy, is an implicit attack on the incarnation.
Luke 1:44 –
ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὡς ἐγένετο ἡ φωνὴ τοῦ ἀσπασμοῦ σου εἰς τὰ ὦτά μου, ἐσκίρτησεν [d]ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει τὸ βρέφος ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ μου.
as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
ἰδοὺ Right now the Word reached my ear! An event in time.
Luke 1:45 –
καὶ μακαρία ἡ πιστεύσασα ὅτι ἔσται τελείωσις τοῖς λελαλημένοις αὐτῇ παρὰ κυρίου.
blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will happen, be fulfilled.
Mary is blessed because she bears the Word and believes the Word. This is pro-formative speech.
Humility is a subjective position not false degradation. Not looking to self. Forget self and receive what is given to you.
How is she perceived? The Pharisees would say to Jesus, "we were not conceived of fornication." – John 8:41
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software