Christians have admired Mary’s faith for centuries. She was a teenage girl who seemed to have it all together. Her faith in God was strong. Her trust in Him was amazing. How did she do it? Mary’s song of praise to the Lord may hold the answer to our puzzlement over her faithfulness.
Bible commentaries tell us that there are fifteen different Old Testament quotations exalting God in Mary’s song. What does that tell us about her? Mary knew God’s word. She knew the stories of her ancestors by heart. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets were all familiar people to her. By knowing God’s word, Mary knew God. She knew that He could be trusted. He had proved His love and His trustworthiness over and over through the centuries. Mary’s knowledge of God through His word meant that she could accept the greatest challenge of her young life. She could answer the angel’s announcement with, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord…” (vs. 38) because she already knew that God was in control of her destiny.
When we are met with difficult decisions, challenges, and conflicts, how often can we say, “God, do whatever you think is best. I am your servant”? Do we often fear that God will not take care of us or our loved ones? Can any of us honestly claim to trust as Mary trusted? Which of us has exalted in our God as Mary did upon arriving at Elizabeth’s home? How did these women do it? Knowing God’s word made a tremendous difference in their lives.
Verse 41 tells us one more thing—–“and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” As we seek to trust and obey God’s will in our lives every day, the study of His word is imperative as is prayer. It is only by God’s enabling that we can turn to Him in every need and in every joy, trusting Him for unfailing direction and care.
As we schedule through the busy Christmas season and into the coming new year, will we go so far as to schedule a time marked “no cancellation” to spend with our Lord and Savior? If you do, you will never regret it.
Have you invited a friend to attend a regular Bible study with you? (A message from your Iowa District West Christian Education Committee)
Fourth Sunday in Advent Luke 1:39-56
1. Who was the baby in Elizabeth’s womb? Why did the baby leap in Mary’s presence?
2. Who was the Baby in Mary’s womb? What title does Elizabeth give to the expected Child? According to vs. 41 what Presence filled and directed Elizabeth?
3. Why is Mary referred to as “blessed”? Was there anything special about Mary as a person? (see Luke 1:26-38)
4. Read Mary’s song of praise (vs. 46-55). Why is it often called the “Magnificat”? Where do we find it in our worship liturgy?
For Family Reflection 5. Advent is a time of humility. Where do we see humility in Mary and Elizabeth? How do we humbly prepare for Christmas? 6. Advent is a time for joy. Where do we see joy expressed by Mary and Elizabeth? What is the source of their joy? What is the source of our joy? How is our Advent joy expressed?