Friday, July 2, 2010

The Visitation: A Devotional Commentary

Isaiah 11:1-5 A shoot will come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of Yahweh will rest on him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh. His delight will be in the fear of Yahweh. He will not judge by the sight of his eyes, neither decide by the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked. Righteousness will be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his waist. 1 Timothy 3:16 Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory. Luke 1:39-56 Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah, and entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. It happened, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy! Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!” Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord. My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, for he has looked at the humble state of his handmaid. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed. For he who is mighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name. His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down princes from their thrones. And has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty. He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy, As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever.” Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her house.

Mary was the fulfillment of the Ark of the Covenant. Both Mary and the ark made a journey to Judea. When David saw the Ark of the Covenant he said, "How can the ark of the Lord come to me?" When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting she said, "Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" When David came to the ark he leaped in front of it. John the Baptizer leaped for joy.

David wasn't just excited about some fine piece of craftsmanship. God accompanied the Ark of the Covenant with His spiritual presence. But in Mary, something far more amazing happens. God comes with His physical presence. The tiny baby in Mary's womb was God Himself. John the Baptizer did nothing, but exhibited the child-like faith that Jesus said was necessary to enter the kingdom of God. John didn't even come there on his own but was carried in a womb to Jesus and He was filled with the Holy Spirit through the speaking of the Word into his mother's ear. John does not express the doubt that he would later when he became an adult and was thrown into prison. John's cognitive ability did not yet make him too smart to believe.

God showed strength with His arm through the mystery of the incarnation. God's strength is seen in baby Jesus in Mary's womb. He exalted the lowly Mary and showed how great His mercy is by coming as a helpless baby and not just wiping everyone out as any reasonable god would do. The proud are free to go on in their self-righteousness until the day of judgment, they are free to live on in the much more reasonable world of their own imaginations. But to the lowly, hungry sinners, He gives His very own body and blood to us, to feed us.

1 comment:

Esteban Vázquez said...

What a lovely little feast this is! I've always wondered how come we don't have it in the East, but then it didn't appear in the West either until the 13th century.