Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Luke, Chapter 1, part 2

The second part of this chapter begins with Mary’s song. This is nothing less than a beautiful song of praise. If you take a look at the societal norms of the time, however, you can see how difficult it would be for Mary to have a song of praise. She was pregnant before being married. This was more than enough to have her shunned from society. We see in the other gospels that Joseph considered quietly breaking off the engagement as well. We also know that Mary was possibly as young as 14. The fact that she had this song undoubtedly shows an enormous amount of maturity for her age.

This also exhibits the power of God in the way He overcame what surely had to be an enormous amount of fear because of the above conditions. I can barely overcome my own fears, and they aren’t nearly on the scope of Mary’s here.

The rest of the chapter deals with the birth of John the Baptist. As we have discussed before, John was a special type of prophet. He was sent to prepare the way for Christ. His mission was one of change, preparing the people for when Christ would bring about even more dramatic change. Zechariah celebrates this with his won song of praise, but let’s take a look at John’s birth.

62Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John." 64Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him. Luke 1:62-66

This is very interesting. John the Baptist was a man that openly admitted he wasn’t as good as Christ, yet his birth is met with great fanfare and wonder by the people around him. As we will see tomorrow, Christ came into the world under even more extraordinary circumstances (the virgin birth), yet His birth was met with very little fanfare. If not for God speaking to the shepherds and the Magi through His angels, it would have met with even less fanfare.

So what can we take from this? It is important to praise God even when things look bleak. It is also important to know that we each have roles. John was someone whom people discussed what he would be in wonder. There were great expectations on him, and he lived up to them. I believe we each have great expectations regardless of what others think. We each have a mission, a purpose for why we are here. It is up to us to seek God first and follow that path.

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