Daily Bible Reading

December 22nd, 2011

Luke 1:39-56 (GNT)

God’s Word Goes Forth: Spread Tidings of Joy to Everyone

Introduction

Luke 1:39-56: In today’s reading we meet two women – Elizabeth, advanced in years who heretofore had been barren, and Mary, a young unmarried virgin – who are joined by God’s Holy Spirit and chosen by God to bear the messianic forerunner and the Savior of the world. This account draws together the two preceding stories in Luke’s Gospel – the announcements of the births of John the Baptist (1:5-25) and Jesus (1:26-38). The reading concludes with Mary’s song of praise, known in various faith traditions as the Magnificat (from the Latin “magnify”).

Today's Scripture: Luke 1:46

Mary said, “My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Savior.”

Today's Reading

39 Soon afterward Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40 She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord's mother comes to visit me? 44 For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness. 45 How happy you are to believe that the Lord's message to you will come true! ” 46 Mary said, “My heart praises the Lord; 47 my soul is glad because of God my Savior, 48 for he has remembered me, his lowly servant! From now on all people will call me happy, 49 because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me. His name is holy; 50 from one generation to another he shows mercy to those who honor him. 51 He has stretched out his mighty arm and scattered the proud with all their plans. 52 He has brought down mighty kings from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away with empty hands. 54 He has kept the promise he made to our ancestors, and has come to the help of his servant Israel. 55 He has remembered to show mercy to Abraham and to all his descendants forever!” 56 Mary stayed about three months with Elizabeth and then went back home.

Reflect

Upon Mary’s arrival, how does Elizabeth respond to Mary’s greeting? In contrast to Zechariah being rendered speechless (Luke 1:20), Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and is given voice. Why does she say that Mary is “the most blessed of all women” and that the child she will bear is blessed? What do you suppose Mary and Elizabeth talked about during their time together while awaiting the impending births of their sons? Mary’s song of praise attests to God’s faithfulness. What verses reflect God’s faithfulness in the present activity? What verses reflect God’s faithfulness with regard to ancient promises? How is God’s faithfulness evident in your life?

Pray

Almighty God, in this season of Advent, we, like Mary, wait with hopeful expectation for the birth of the Holy One, trusting in the fulfillment of your promise. In faith, we wait with joyful anticipation for the coming of your greatest gift to us. How happy are we who believe! Lord God, we sing of your faithfulness. Amen.

Prayer Concern

Those awaiting the birth of a child

Tomorrow's Reading

Luke 1:57-80: John the Baptist is born.

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