Third Thursday in Advent BABY JOHN IN UTERO, 19 MARY & EVE
Scripture: Luke 1:39-45
39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
Let’s walk through the events you’ve just read and then make some observations. After hearing the news from Gabriel concerning her own pregnancy, the angel also informed her of Elizabeth’s pregnancy! The news about her cousin’s condition seems like an affirmation of the uniqueness of her own situation. The now pregnant Mary headed off to visit Elizabeth, whom some traditions believe is the sister of Mary’s mother.
We’re not sure when Joseph heard the news. My guess is that Mary told him immediately and maybe they decided it would be best if she left town for a while. At any rate, Mary stayed for the next three months with Elizabeth and Zechariah leaving them around the time John was born. When Mary first entered Elizabeth’s home and greeted her, the sixth month in utero baby John, leaped for joy upon hearing Mary’s voice, at which point Elizabeth was also filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now for some general observations. During this most stressful time, Mary went to a relative where she could feel more comfortable among loved ones and have some time to process what had happened. No doubt the general population of Nazareth did not believe her story and assumed she was lying. This is confirmed from elsewhere in Scripture (Luke 4:22). In unsettling times, often close family can bring comfort, support, and solace.
From the jumping boy in the womb, we know that six-month-old babies can hear and that an unborn child can be filled with the Holy Spirit. A baby waiting to be born has a soul and is a living person from the moment of conception (Jer 1:5, Ps 119:73, Isa 49:1, Eccl 11:5). John was a most remarkable infant with astounding spiritual perception. Since the Lord has ordered each day of our lives and has known us from the dawn of creation, he certainly starts his “ordering” from the first day of conception months before we enter this world as we are developing and being prepared for our arrival. In the words of the Orthodox Study Bible p.1364, “This truth deals a fatal blow to the idea that abortion is justifiable because the fetus is not yet a person.” We are loved into being by our heavenly Father. Paul writes, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lies in you and was given to you by God. You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (I Cor.6:19-20). These words are quite a contrast to the erroneous oft-repeated idolatrous slogan, “My body, my choice” which frankly sounds like Eve’s perspective, and we know how that path has turned out!
Music: “Mary Did You Know?” 7thAve Band with Chris Rupp
Our Father in heaven, may we have the trusting transparent faith of Mary, the supportive, steady faith of Joseph, the rejoicing faith of Elizabeth, the exuberant faith of unborn baby John, and the submissive faith of the baby in the manger who humbled himself to the point of death that he might bring reconciliation to the fallen world of our first parents. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp
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