Saturday, December 17, 2011

Devotion 17 Elizabeth Speaks by the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:39-45 tells the story of Mary going to visit Elizabeth right after she heard the news from the angel. That news included the fact that her relative Elizabeth, though an old woman, had also conceived a special son and was already in her sixth month.

There is a bit of irony here. Zechariah asked for a sign and was punished with muteness because he did not believe and asked for a sign. Mary did not ask for a sign but was given one in the form of a barren relative who miraculously conceived in old age.

So Mary took off quickly to see Elizabeth (Lk. 1:39). When she arrived, the baby John, already filled with the Holy Spirit (1:15), leaped in Elizabeth’s womb to be in the presence of the newly conceived Messiah. Even as a baby in the womb he was thrilled by the presence of Jesus.

Then a most unusual thing happened. God sent another word about his son, the Messiah. The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth and this old, pregnant, woman began to prophesy! She was loud about it, too. She “exclaimed with a loud cry” (1:42).

The Holy Spirit always points to Christ (John 15:26). He did so here. Being God, he sovereignly chose through whom he would speak. The mother of John the Baptist testified through the Spirit to the mother of Christ, as her son would later testify to Mary’s son. What a beautiful and intricate package. God kept his word, testified to his word and blessed those who believed his word.

Here is what Elizabeth said: blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me. For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken of her from the Lord. (Lk. 1:42-45)

“Blessed” means to be in the favor of the Lord. Elizabeth declared through the Spirit that Mary was favored of the Lord. This word of the Lord spoken by Elizabeth repeated the word of the Lord spoken by the angel to Mary: she had found favor with the Lord (Lk. 1:30).

Elizabeth went on to say that the baby Jesus also was blessed. He also had the favor of the Lord. John the Baptist would later testify to the outward manifestation of this favored status at the baptism of Jesus. Matthew recorded. A voice came from heaven and said “this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”. (Matthew 3:17)

Lastly, Elizabeth said Mary had the favor of the Lord because she believed the Lord would fulfill what was spoken of her from the Lord (Lk. 1:45). In contrast to the doubt of Zechariah, Elizabeth’s own husband, she declared the Lord’s favor on Mary for her belief.

All who believe the word of the Lord about Christ Jesus find his favor. All who do not believe find his wrath.

Believe and be blessed.
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