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The Day A Pregnant Virgin & A Pregnant Senior Citizen Have A Visit!

December 23, 2012

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Fourth Sunday in Advent                              Trinity Lutheran Church

23 December 2012                                       Murdock, NE           


+ Jesu Juva +


St. Luke 1:39-45 (46-56) 


Here we are.  On the cusp of Christmas!  And two women are pregnant.  Two mothers.  “No big deal!” you say.  “We have several women here at Trinity who are pregnant.”  Not so fast folks!  For with these two women in the text something more is going on.  The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, has been at work.  Stirring up His power. 


How?  Through the Word preached by the archangel Gabriel!  Yes, that’s right these two women who should not be pregnant – are both carrying a child! All this happens according to the Holy Spirit-filled Word of promise proclaimed by the archangel! 


But Mary is a virgin!  No way she can be puking her guts out with morning sickness!  It’s impossible that she has the Egyptian Flu!  Nonetheless she is totally pregnant.  The baby is growing in her belly!


But Elizabeth, Mary’s relative, has been sterile all her life!  Take a good look at her!  Do you see the wrinkles?  The crows feet?  The white hair?  Her arthritis?  Good grief!  This woman is a ready for the nursing home senior citizen.  Anybody got a walker for this poor woman?


Better take another look friends.  See her mid section?  Yes, that’s right!  She’s got a baby bump going on!  She’s already in her second trimester!  Heavy with child she is!  These two pregnancies prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that with God anything is possible!     


Mary the Virgin carries the Christ – Savior of the world Baby Jesus in her belly.  Elizabeth bears the last prophet who bridges the Old Testament and New Testament – John the Baptist. Again:  these are huge miracles!  A virgin teen and a barren old woman are both expecting. 


Gabriel informed Mary that Elizabeth was in her sixth month.  So Mary goes to pay her a visit.  We call it The Visitation.  A three-month Visitation!  We are given to hear only the beginning of the stay. 


When Mary arrives she greets her cousin.  As soon as her greeting goes into Elizabeth’s ears, the baby in the old woman’s womb leaps.  Yes, that’s right leaps.


The little one jumps for joy!  And Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.  That babies roll around and jostle around in the womb is a common thing. Babies do that all the time.  Talk to any of our expecting mothers here at Trinity. But that the baby leaps at Mary’s greeting is significant.  Already John the Baptist – sixth months in the womb – bears witness to the Christ!  The Christ in Mary’s womb! 


This is a profoundly prophetic moment.  It is the final fulfillment of all God’s promises to His people.  No wonder Elizabeth is filled with the Spirit.  The Spirit is at work.  Just as promised in the Old Testament to Abraham and all his descendants.  Behold the Old Testament Day of the Lord has come.  The forerunner of the Messiah is here.  The Messiah Himself is here.  Babies – babies in the bellies of their mothers. 


Well the sound of Mary’s voice gives great joy for the six month old fetus.  He jumps for joy.  The Savior has come!  He is here on the earth!  In Mary’s womb.


And John believes it.  Rejoices in it.  This teaches us two things.


First, unborn babies are humans.  The unborn are not just blobs of tissue.  They are babies from the very moment of conception.  Life begins there.  That’s how God created you.  He knit you in your mother’s womb through your parents.  The barely six-month old fetus John and the just conceived by the Holy Spirit Jesus in Mary’s womb are babies.  Humans.


Second, babies can and do believe!  Babies benefit from hearing God’s Word – even in the womb.  John the Baptist leaps for joy and Elizabeth is filled with the Spirit at the voice of Mary’s greeting.  How much more when we hear the living voice of Christ Himself through His Word! 


One of the biggest prescriptions I can give you ladies for pre-natal care is that you come to church!  That you bring your unborn children regularly to the divine service where Jesus Himself proclaims the Gospel to you and your baby and feeds you with His most holy Body and Blood.  Do you remember St. Timothy?  The apostle Paul rejoiced that he was heard the Scriptures from infancy!  The very Holy Spirit-filled Scriptures that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus – even as an infant – just like Timothy!  And so here too with John the Baptist! 


Now, back to the text.  Mary greets Elizabeth.  And Elizabeth blesses Mary and the Baby Jesus she carries.  “Blessed are you among women.  Blessed is the child you will bear.”  Mary is blessed.  God chose her to bear the Savior.  And she receives what God gives.  She trusts.  Faith.  She believes. In what God promises and gives through His Word. 


Elizabeth is also honored.  “How has it happened that the mother of my Lord has come to pay me a visit?” She is astounded, stunned and amazed.  Elizabeth rejoices that Mary is the “mother of my Lord.”  Did you catch that?  “Mary, you are the mother of my Lord and my God!”    The Second Person of the Holy Trinity takes on flesh through Mary.  Mary, then, is appropriately called “Theotokos,” the bearer of God.  The mother of God! 


Why?  Because the Baby in her womb is the Word made flesh.  Because the Baby in her womb is indeed the eternal Son of God!  Consequently Mary is called Theotokos, bearer of God, the mother of God, that is, the mother of Jesus who is God.  This name given to Mary is not supposed to call attention to Mary but to extol the Baby she bears.


The Baby in her belly is the Lord!  Immanuel!  He topples nations.  He brings down rulers from their thrones.  Name them:  Pharoah/Egypt, Nebuchadnezzer/Babylon, Alexander the Great/Greece, the Caesars/Rome, the Hitlers, Stalins, Mussolinis and Pol Pots.  Even our mighty country will pass away one day.  The Baby who is the Lord is the one who scatters the proud in their conceit.  He brings the mighty down from their thrones.  He alone, Baby Jesus, is the Lord.       


And yet He condescends to be a Baby.  As a Baby to be the Savior.  For all nations!  For all peoples!  Even for you!  Such a Savior is to be worshiped.  To be praised.  And so Mary breaks out:  “My soul magnifies the Lord!”  “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  “My Savior.”  Yes, she too, like you, me and everyone else in the world, needs this Savior.  Mary too needs to be saved.  And Jesus is the one to do it.  He alone!     


She sings of God’s wonderful gift of salvation.  And that’s the Fetus growing in her womb is her Savior.  “The Mighty One has done great things for me,” she sings.  “Holy is His Name,” she declares.  Generations call Mary “blessed” because she believed God’s Word spoken to her.  She is also called “blessed” because God used her body as the vessel, the instrument, or the means for the eternal second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son, to be born into the world to save sinners.


That’s you, me, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah.  Sinners.  Humbled and brought low! 


We confess that Jesus is Lord.  We are not.  Jesus is everything! We are nothing!  For Jesus’ sake God forgives you.  God has indeed triumphed through the flesh of the Fetus named Jesus.  And with that Body He goes to the cross.  Raises His mighty arms, stretches them out to be nailed, and dies for you.  The whole reason for the season!


Have a blessed Christmas Eve tomorrow!

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