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The Greatest Story

pexels-negative-space-34075The Greatest Story (Luke 1:39-45)

Today we witness a joyful reunion between two women, both with unexpected pregnancies. Elizabeth, who was barren and of age (Luke 1:7), now carrying John the Baptist. And then there is Mary, still trying to wrap her brain around the miracle of her conception. The Holy Spirit had come upon her. Her womb was now the temporary home of the very Son of God (Luke 1:35).

When Elizabeth hears Mary’s greeting, her baby leaped in her womb (v.41). The sceptic says: “What a coincidence”! But Luke wants us to think that in his leaping, John acts as the Forerunner to the Messiah (Luke 1:17). This leaping is not an unintended impulse but a Spirit inspired acknowledgement. Little John recognizes that he finds himself in the presence of His Lord and ecstatically kicks inside his mom’s belly.

The Bible clearly considers this unborn life a real, living person. Twice we are told that “the baby” leaped in Elizabeth’s womb (vs.41,44). Earlier, the angel prophesied that this baby would be filled with the Holy Spirit, “even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). Human cells cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit, only people can.

Mary is blessed for being chosen to bear Jesus (v.42). She is the favored one (Luke 1:28). But not because she brought anything special to the table. We should not pray “Hail Mary, full of grace”. Mary was not the source but the recipient of God’s grace. She was blessed because of the blessedness of the Messiah she carried.

Elizabeth’s and Mary’s stories are amazing in itself. But they tie into a much larger story, the story of God’s redemption of sinners. It is the greatest story ever written, one that God invites us to become part of through faith in the Son of God, the Son of Mary.