Luke 1:39-45 By Pastor Mike Sanders
When we come to the Scriptures we realize that faith is the essence of the Christian life. The Apostle Paul said in (Galatians 2:20 KJV) “…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” At the very outset of your Christian life faith is required. In addition we are called to live by faith as believers if we are to continue to grow in our Christian life. Again the Bible tells us in (Hebrews 11:6 KJV) “But without faith it is impossible to please him.”
In the Gospel of Luke 1:39 we are introduced to two individuals named Mary and Elizabeth and they are models of faith for every Christian. I’m sure you are familiar with Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. Mary is the mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The angel Gabriel gave Mary a sign that prompted her to quickly embark on an eighty-mile, four day journey to Elizabeth’s home. Why did Mary run to Judah? Because she had been given the greatest birth announcement ever and that is the birth announcement that she would carry the Son of God, Jesus Christ himself. She would bring the long awaited Messiah into this world.
Upon hearing that news from Mary, Elizabeth breaks out in song and she is shouting out to God, and to Mary, singing a blessing to Mary. Why is she doing that, because she is now realizing that God is turning her sorrow into a song.
Elizabeth had no child because she was barren and both her and her husband were now old (Luke 1:7). Elizabeth was a righteous woman she loved God with all of her heart and she was passionate about her faith. Every day she prayed that God would give her a child, but year after year, no child and no changes in her life. She carried the sorrow in her heart because she was well stricken in years and in her mind she could not see how it could be possible that she could have a child.
Then the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zachariah as he was doing his work in the temple. It was a great privilege to come to Jerusalem and do the work of offering sacrifices to God. The angel appears to him and lets him know that his wife is going to have a child. The Bible tells us Elizabeth’s response in (Luke 1:25 KJV) “Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” Now notice that once again she has a reproach she sensed that sorrow in her heart and she sensed that burden in her heart. Elizabeth was wrongly looked upon as someone who’s been judged by God because she had no child. Unfortunately in the Jewish culture if you were without a child you were looked down upon. Here Elizabeth was bearing that reproach and she was living underneath the stigma that people had labeled for her life.
You have been there; you understand what it’s like to have your circumstances misunderstood. You understand what it is like when you say something to people they take what you say and twist it and they misunderstand it and misinterpret it. They judge you and they label you. You understand the sorrow that she bore.
Our sorrows are all different but we live in a world of sorrow. I know that’s probably one of the hardest things for us to grasp as followers of Christ. We are under the impression that simply following Jesus means they’ll be no problems in my life but it’s just the opposite. Things intensify in your life; the suffering and the sorrow continue to multiply. The Scriptures teach us that “…through much tribulation we enter in to the kingdom of God.”
How do we turn our sorrow into song? How do we get to where Elizabeth was? How do we get to that point where we have this reproach and we have the sadness and the suffering in our life to where we are praising God?
I believe, without a doubt God can take our sorrow and turn it into a song. We must have faith in the power of God. I want to bring you back to the context of our verses. In verse 36 the angel Gabriel gave the announcement to Mary, she was trying to process what she was being told in her mind. She was not a married woman and yet she was going to have a child without a husband. Through the power of the Holy Spirit of God He would conceive within her womb the very Son of God. It’s enough for us to try to wrestle with this and to understand this but can you imagine for this young girl to hear this and to try to get a grasp on this.
The Angel understanding her inability to wrap her brain around this gives her a sign from God. The sign is a manifestation of the power of God. Gabriel says Elizabeth is having a child. Mary would know Elizabeth. Why because they’re related and they understood each other’s plight and problems and issues. She knew that Elizabeth was older. How could she ever have a child? This would have to be something miraculous.
The Angel wanted Mary to learn about the power of God. Remember verse 37? The Bible says for “…with God nothing shall be impossible!” For Mary, her questions to God are how you could do this because in the realm of science and in the realm of humanity, we cannot comprehend this. How could I have a child without a man how can this happen and the angel says listen God is already done a miraculous conception in the life of your cousin Elizabeth. God is revealing to Mary His power.
The Bible shows us here the power of God. The angel gave Mary a sign and this meant that she was to be affirmed in the fact that God works mightily. You can’t put God in a box. I’m thankful that no matter what my sorrow is no matter what my situation, I can come to an Almighty God, who is all-powerful and that He can work beyond my circumstances, in my circumstances and through my circumstances to accomplish His great will in my life. Imagine what it was like for Mary as she went to see Elizabeth. She is now beginning to grow in her faith as she begins to realize that God is working.
The Bible says Mary showed up at Elizabeth’s house. She entered in to the house she said, ‘Hi’. Mary was all excited and then the Bible says that when Elizabeth heard her salutation the baby, John the Baptist, leaped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. When God is working He is doing powerful things.
It is not unusual for a woman to feel the movement of a baby. If you’ve ever had a child or if your spouse ever had a child you know that one of the joys is to be able to feel that little child kick. Yet this was unique in that the baby did not just move but that the baby leaped in the womb. This was certainly a manifestation of the Spirit of God. Whenever we think of the power of God we always have to understand that God manifest His power through the Spirit of God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit with in our lives. This was also a message of great power to Elizabeth. The Spirit of God filled her heart as John moved in her womb, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God and he leaped for joy because the Messiah was in their presence.
I want you to know that you can sing today because of the power of God in your life. The Bible says (Jeremiah 32:17 KJV) “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee”