‘He Has Lifted Up the Lowly’

by Rev. Christopher D. Hall

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Illustration: The Visitation by Bonvicino; vol. 34 of the Bowyer Bible; Wikimedia Commons

In the summer of 2004, the Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, for the first time since 1896. In the home of the Olympics, the host country made many references to its pre-Christian past—and to the pre-Christian nature of the original Olympics millennia ago.

But something strange happened on the second day of the games. The television coverage showed athletes performing to nearly empty spectator stands. Whereas the opening ceremony was packed full two days before, on Aug. 15, the stadiums were embarrassingly empty.

One commentator noted that the day was a religious holiday in Greece, and many Greeks were in church or staying away from the games for the day.

Lutherans celebrate Aug. 15 as a festival too. We call it the “Festival of St. Mary, the Mother of our Lord.”

Read Luke 1:39–45. Why does Elizabeth call Mary blessed among women?

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Why does Elizabeth say that Mary is the “mother of her Lord”?

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In verse 45, what is the reason Elizabeth gives for calling Mary blessed?

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The Lord speaks to us as well in His Holy Word, the Scriptures. When we believe what God tells us about His love for us in Jesus Christ, we are blessed too.

Read Gal. 4:4–5. What is the word of promise given to us who believe in Jesus, born of a woman?

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Of all the women who have ever lived, God chose Mary to bear His eternal Son. What a great honor that must have been!

Mary might have been tempted to let all the praise that Elizabeth showered on her go to her head, to make her prideful.

Read Luke 1:46–55. This is known as the “Magnificat,” or “Song of Mary.” How does Mary describe herself in this song?

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Who are the proud? Who are the humble? Why does God choose one and not the other?

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Read Eph. 2:1–5, 8–10. Do we have room to be boastful and proud of our accomplishments?

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Discuss: How does faith in the Gospel and humility go together?

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God chose a woman of great faith to be the mother of His Son, and so chooses us as people who carry Christ in our hearts. We follow the example of Mary in recognizing that before God we are all needy and humble, that our earthly accomplishments and talents are nothing when it comes to God giving us His Son Jesus Christ.

About the Author: Rev. Christopher D. Hall is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Enid, Okla., and third vice-president of the Oklahoma District.

The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
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contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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