When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting the babe leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she lifted up her voice with a great cry and said, "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why has this been granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For--look you--when the voice of your greeting came to my ears the babe in my womb leaped with exultation. Blessed is she who believed that the things spoken to her from the Lord would find their fulfilment.
This is a kind of lyrical song on the blessedness of Mary. Nowhere can we better see the paradox of blessedness than in her life.
To Mary was granted the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. Well might her heart be filled with a wondering, tremulous joy at so great a privilege. Yet that very blessedness was to be a sword to pierce her heart. It meant that some day she would see her son hanging on a cross. To be chosen by God so often means at one and the same time a crown of joy and cross of sorrow. The piercing truth is that God does not choose a person for ease and comfort and selfish joy but for a task that will take all that head and heart and hand can bring to it.
God chooses a man in order to use him.
When Joan of Arc knew that her time was short she prayed, "I shall only last a year; use me as you can. When Richard Cameron, the Covenanter, was caught by the dragoons they killed him. He had very beautiful hands and they cut them off and sent them to his father with a message asking if he recognized them.
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Good is the will of the Lord who can never wrong me or mine. A great Spanish saint prayed for his people, "May God deny you peace and give you glory. It is the paradox of blessedness that it confers on a person at one and the same time the greatest joy and the greatest task in all the world. For--look you--from now on all generations shall call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me and his name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation to those who fear him. He demonstrates his power with his arm. He scatters the proud in the plans of their hearts. He casts down the mighty from their seats of power. He exalts the humble. He fills those who are hungry with good things and he sends away empty those who are rich. He has helped Israel, his son, in that he has remembered his mercy--as he said to our fathers that he would--to Abraham and to his descendants forever. Here we have a passage which has become one of the great hymns of the church--the Magnificat.
It is saturated in the Old Testament; and is specially kin to Hannah's song of praise in 1 Samuel It has been said that religion is the opiate of the people; but, as Stanley Jones said, "the Magnificat is the most revolutionary document in the world. That is a moral revolution. Christianity is the death of pride. Because if a man sets his life beside that of Christ it tears the last vestiges of pride from him. Sometimes something happens to a man which with a vivid, revealing light shames him.
Henry has a short story about a lad who was brought up in a village. In school he used to sit beside a girl and they were fond of each other. He went to the city and fell into evil ways. He became a pickpocket and a petty thief. One day he snatched an old lady's purse. It was clever work and he was pleased. And then he saw coming down the street the girl whom he used to know, still sweet with the radiance of innocence.
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Suddenly he saw himself for the cheap, vile thing he really was. Burning with shame, he leaned his head against the cool iron of a lamp standard. Christ enables a man to see himself. It is the deathblow to pride.
The moral revolution has begun. That is a social revolution. Christianity puts an end to the world's labels and prestige. Muretus was a wandering scholar of the middle ages.
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He was poor. In an Italian town he took ill and was taken to a hospital for waifs and strays. The doctors were discussing his case in Latin, never dreaming he could understand.
They suggested that since he was such a worthless wanderer they might use him for medical experiments. He looked up and answered them in their own learned tongue, "Call no man worthless for whom Christ died! When we have realized what Christ did for all men, it is no longer possible to speak about a common man. The social grades are gone. That is an economic revolution. A non-Christian society is an acquisitive society where each man is out to amass as much as he can get. A Christian society is a society where no man dares to have too much while others have too little, where every man must get only to give away.perdkrakenclinland.tk
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There is loveliness in the Magnificat but in that loveliness there is dynamite. Christianity begets a revolution in each man and revolution in the world. When her neighbours and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her they rejoiced with her. On the eighth day they went to circumcise the child and it was their intention to call him Zacharias after his father. But his mother said, "No; he must be called John. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "John is his name.
And great awe fell upon all the neighbours, and all these events were talked about in all the hill country of Judaea; and all those who heard them kept them in their hearts and said, "What will this child turn out to be, for the hand of the Lord is with him? In Palestine the birth of a boy was an occasion of great joy. When the time of the birth was near at hand, friends and local musicians gathered near the house. When the birth was announced and it was a boy, the musicians broke into music and song, and there was universal congratulation and rejoicing.
If it was a girl the musicians went silently and regretfully away! There was a saying, "The birth of a male child causes universal joy, but the birth of a female child causes universal sorrow. At last she had a child and that child was a son. On the eighth day the boy was circumcised and received his name.
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Girls could be named any time within thirty days of their birth. In Palestine names were descriptive. They sometimes described a circumstance attending the birth as Esau and Jacob do Genesis They sometimes described the child. Laban, for instance, means white or blonde.
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Sometimes the child received the parental name. Often the name described the parents' joy. Saul and Samuel, for instance, both mean "asked for. Elijah for instance, means "Jehovah is my God. Elizabeth, to the neighbours' surprise, said that her son must be called John and Zacharias indicated that that was also his desire.
Related New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel According to Luke
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