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Friday, November 11, 2011

Unchained Challenge: Luke 1

Scripture: Luke 1:25 Elizabeth said, “The Lord…has taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Observation: Being barren was a disgraceful lot in life for women of Elizabeth’s day. It still has a stigma for women even to this day. People, maybe even Zechariah himself, looked down upon Elizabeth for her inability to conceive children. But she still “walked upright” (v.6) regardless of the bitterness of being barren and the shame it piled on her. She did not abandon the God she might have been tempted to believe abandoned her. But God took away the “disgrace” of Elizabeth and enabled her to conceive a child who would “prepare the way for the Lord.” Not only would she give birth to a boy, that boy she birthed was the “birth” of Pre-Advent! She is excited and she should be. Mary feels some of the same joy for a similar reason. God “has been mindful of the humble state of his servant” (1:48). Two women, one barren and one obscure, have the shame taken away by the one and only God who could remove it! And this is the Gospel, thanks be to God. No more shame, no more disgrace, that was outside of the bounds of her control. I feel some of the same excitement as I reflect upon the shameful circumstances that have disgraced me and how God took it away.

Application: God is challenging me to be grateful and remember how he has removed my disgrace. Today, when I am tempted to feel the shame of my past or the disgrace of not measuring up in the present to the standards of myself or others, I will resist it by the power of the Spirit. I will not allow my mind to play the tricks on me that will lead me back to shameful disgrace.

Prayer: Lord, there were things outside of my control that disgraced me for too long. I felt the sting of shame that sent me into a downward spiral of insecurity, inferiority, and inadequacy. But then You came near and did for me what I could not do for myself- you took away my disgrace! Jesus Christ, you set this captive free! Amen


Katie Keever said...

Scripture: Luke 1:37 "For with God nothing will be impossible."

When I think of the words in this verse, my mind goes directly to when Christ says it later to his disciples. I don't think I've ever noticed it here in the conception story. This phrase is used five times throughout the gospels and this is the only time it is not Christ saying it. Here it is the angel Gabriel assuring Mary that she will conceive by the Holy Spirit and telling her the news of her relative Elizabeth conceiving even in her old age. In this exchange between Gabriel and Mary, he is pointing out that what seemed impossible for Elizabeth has indeed been done and what seems impossible for Mary now will also surely be done.
We, as believers, should have a much different view on what is impossible than the rest of the world, because we know that was may seem impossible can indeed be done, but not by our own power.

Prayer: Lord, when I'm facing situations that seem impossible,whether it's finances or relationships or my whole future, help me to trust in You, knowing You really are in control. Thank you for working things out for my good even when I'm not seeing it or even looking for it!

Lenny Luchetti said...

Katie, thanks for inspiring us with your post by reminded us of the power of the God with whom all things are possible!

Unknown said...

The verse that stuck out to me was not what really hit me this morning. At first, the latter part of Luke 2:35 stuck out: "that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
When I think about it though, the whole chapter seriously captures my attention. This is what I wrote in my journal this morning:

6 a.m. Sitting in a friend's living room holding her 5-month-old and reading about a Newborn from 2,000 years ago. As i read about Mary giving birth to the Child, I imagined the baby in my own arms having all of that power in him. We can't understand what it meant to hold the Christ-Chile or what He held in that little Body. Serious humility. Love, compassion, Holiness, TRUTH. My God came down to meet me face-to-face. He was a baby just like I was. He doesn't love us so much that He "just" died but He loves us so much that He lived our lives-right from the start. He didn't choose the times that were a bit more dignified. Being conceived in a human womb. Depending on human parents. Learning to take first steps, messing His diapers and spitting up while holding onto the power it takes to make blind men see, lame men walk, dead men live, and overthrow satan himself. Humility out of love. All because He believes we were and are worth His ultimate love. What a God we know!

Unknown said...

Sorry! I didn't realize these were divided into chapters! :)

Lenny Luchetti said...

Shaine, thanks for sharing your insightful theological reflections. The incarnation is so full-orbed and far-reaching, I am not sure the Church has even begun to consider all of the implications, even though we have been thinking and writing on the incarnation for 2000 years.