Third Sunday of Advent (Dec 16th)

Pastor's Summary of Luke 1:39-55

The gospel reading preceds the Magnificat, said or sung today. An angel has appeared to Zechariah in the Temple, and later tha angel Gabriel has come to Mary. Zechariah has been told that his wife Elizabeth will bear a child in her old age; Mary has heard that she will bear a son to be called Jesus and "Son of the Most High"; (v. 32), of God. God will make him a king of David's line; he will rule Israel for ever. 

Now Mary visits her "relative" (v. 36) Elizabeth. A scholar tells us that the Greek words translated "with haste" (v. 39) can be rendered very thoughtfully. In telling us that "the child" (v. 41), John the Baptist) "leaped" in Elizabeth's womb, Luke intends us to understand that John recognizes his Lord, Jesus. Elizabeth's reaction, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is to praise Mary. Luke's first readers would have recalled the liberation brought to Israel militarily by two women called "blessed"(v. 42) in other books: one in Judges. Elizabeth "exclaimed with a loud cry" (or voice)-the way marvellous prophecies were given in the Old Testament.