Lukeby Mike Raiter
The angel Gabriel has announced the births of two boys. One is a prophet of God (v. 76), the other is the Son of God (vv. 32, 35). One will announce salvation (vv. 17, 76), the other will bring about that salvation (vv. 46–55, 68–75).
Even before either of these boys is born, they meet. Mary visits her relative Elizabeth, and we are told that when Elizabeth hears Mary’s greeting, the child leaps in her womb. Even before he is born, Elizabeth’s son has begun his ministry of pointing others to Jesus’ greatness. From the moment he is conceived in his mother’s womb, John is filled with the Spirit (v. 15), whose main work is to testify about Jesus (John 15:26). Later, John will introduce Jesus to the world, confessing that “one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (Luke 3:16). This prophetic work begins even in his mother’s womb!
This is something we will see again and again in Luke’s gospel: people filled with the Spirit recognise Jesus and give Him all glory and honour (2:25–32, 36–38). If a person is indwelt by the Spirit of God, the first sign of this is that they acknowledge and worship Jesus. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ, and where this Spirit is present, Christ is glorified.
Mary then praises God for bringing forth the long-awaited salvation (vv. 46–55). In this wonderful song, Mary is both praising God and preaching a gospel message! Of course, that is what all great songs of praise do. Mary rejoices that in Jesus, salvation has come. As always, this salvation is welcomed by the poor and humble—those who feel their need for grace most keenly (vv. 52–53). It is the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises, going as far back as Abraham.
Here are two model responses to Jesus. Like John, we who are God’s Spirit-filled people will testify to the greatness of Jesus. Like Mary, we will worship God for His mercy in giving us, those who are spiritually poor and needy, the Saviour, Jesus.
One of the striking features of Luke’s gospel is the importance he places on women. What is Luke teaching us through the godly examples of Elizabeth and Mary?
Mary’s song (vv. 46–55) demonstrates that God’s kindness to her is a reflection of His kindness to His people, Israel. In what way do we also experience these divine mercies?