Sunday School Lesson – December 11, 2016 The Promise Affirmed
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: 7 or 6 B.C. – Place: Hill Country of Judea
Luke 1:39 – And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda. It’s not known exactly when the overshadowing or when the conception took place, it may have occurred when Mary willingly accepted the mission God had given her. After the angel’s departure, Mary rose quickly, she left her affairs to attend a greater affair. We can assume Mary went to Elizabeth’s to confirm her faith as well as having someone to talk to that were in a somewhat similar case as she was, they both had been visited by an angel and they both were going to give birth to a child miraculously. Although Mary had accepted the mission, she couldn’t tell anyone in her near surrounds, who would believe her? As a confirming sign of God’s promise to her, Gabriel had told Mary about Elisabeth’s pregnancy. Most likely Mary was excited to hear about Elisabeth’s pregnancy, knowing that she was once barren and now she has been pregnant for six months, was a confirmation to Mary; what is impossible with man is possible with God. God had miraculously intervened in Elisabeth’s life to enable her to conceive when she and her husband, Zacharias, were both past childbearing age. This should also be an encouragement for husband’s and wife who have tried on my occasions to have a child, but for one reason or another they haven’t been able to produce, they should look to the God that works miracles and makes the impossible, possible.
Luke 1:40 – And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. Mary traveled to the hill country to see Elisabeth, and she finally had reached the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth, what Mary received in her search was probably more than she expected.
Luke 1:41 – And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Mary’s coming brought a reaction from John in Elizabeth’s womb. The Messiah’s forerunner gave testimony to the Messiah even before He was born. The angel predicted to Zacharias that his baby would be filled with the Holy Spirit even from the womb. Apparently, the Holy Spirit told Elizabeth that Mary’s child was the Messiah. Mary had not yet said anything to Elizabeth about her encounter with the angel and what he had told her, but Elizabeth’s filling of the Holy Spirit and the movement of her child communicated to her that the Messiah was present.
Luke 1:42 – And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Elizabeth’s speaking by the Holy Spirit are the same words that were spoken to Mary by the angel, “Blessed art thou among women”.
Luke 1:43 – And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Even though Elizabeth was pregnant and had waited for years for a son, she could have envied Mary whose Son would be even greater than her own, but instead, she was filled with joy that the mother of her Lord visited her. As Christians, we should always have joy when God has blessed our fellow sister or brother, even if the blessing He has bestowed upon them is greater than our blessing.
Luke 1:44 – For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. When John the Baptist heard Mary’s salutation to his mother Elizabeth, he leaped in her womb. He leaped as it were for joy that the Messiah was soon to be on the scene., John was born six months prior to His Lord’s birth. The Holy Spirit in John the Baptist was acknowledging the Lord’s presence in Mary. It’s similar to when born-again Christians meet for the first time, they don’t have to tell each other they are Christian, the Spirit within them will agree they have the same Spirit.
Luke 1:45 – And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. Mary’s faith contrasts with the doubt of Zacharias’, she was simply waiting on God to bring His promise to fulfillment.
Luke 1:46 – And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord. Mary glorified God for what He was going to do for the world through her Son. She expresses her joy and praise, and God alone is the subject and given the praise.
Luke 1:47 – And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. With great complacency in Him as her Saviour, she calls Him God her Saviour; for the angel had told her that He should be the Son of the Highest and that His name should be Jesus, a Saviour. Her spirit rejoiced in the Lord because of the kind things He had done for her. He had chosen her for this honor, notwithstanding her poverty or even her sinful nature, because the only one that was free from sin was Jesus.
Luke 1:48- For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. “Henceforce” means from now on, things will never be the same again. All generations would call her blessed; Mary went from being a poor unknown Hebrew girl to the most honored woman in the history of the world. Mary wasn’t being proud by making her statement, she was recognizing and accepting the gift God had given her.
Luke 1:49 – For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. Mary recognized it wasn’t her own goodness that she had been chosen by God, she recognized the power of God was stronger than nature itself. “Holy is his name, Mary was affirming that God is morally perfect, both in character and in all His actions. In His goodness toward her and His people, He revealed His holiness.
Luke 1:50 – And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. The term mercy expresses the Old Testament concept of God’s loyal, gracious, and faithful love. God’s mercy comes to those who look respectfully to Him.
Luke 1:51 – He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. Mary glorified God in song for what He was going to do through her Son. This song is called the Magnificat, Mary began to praise God, her words revealed a great depth of biblical understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Luke 1:52 – He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. This verse portrays a “reversal” in the end times when those who have abused power will be judged and those who have suffered persecution will be exalted. Mary was looking forward to the day when God’s people are no longer oppressed but are instead blessed by the Lord.
Luke 1:53 – He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away. God kept His promise to Abraham to be merciful to his people forever. God’s mercy is still flowing from generation to generation, we don’t receive from God what we deserve.
Luke 1:54 – He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy. The idea of Israel as God’s servant is found frequently in the Book of Isaiah. Israel has a special role in serving God and revealing Him.
Luke 1:55 – As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. God’s action in the life of Mary was based on commitment He made centuries before. God kept His promise to Abraham to be merciful to his people forever. Jesus’ birth fulfilled the promise, and Mary understood this, she was not surprised when her special son eventually announced that He was the Messiah.