The Three Wise WomenDecember 12-16
Elizabeth Was a Waiting Woman
And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. – Luke 1:6-7 (ESV)
Years ago, there was a Shepherd’s Home for children with developmental disabilities where they taught that Jesus would save them and one day heal them of all disabilities. The director said that his biggest problem was dirty windows because the disabled children would press their hands, noses, and lips against the windows, always looking to see if today might be the day that Jesus would return for them and take them home where they will be healed of all their disabilities.
Zechariah (Zacharias) and Elizabeth were a godly couple who patiently waited for the return of Christ but also waited to have their own child. The “time of Herod”(Luke 1:5) was not a time when it was easy to be godly. The times were ungodly and the prevailing spirit was unrighteous. Yet, Elizabeth remained faithful and trusting during her season of waiting for the arrival of Jesus and the arrival of her own child, John the Baptist.
One lesson is that you may be holy and may live a saintly life even though many around you are ungodly and even though you are in a season of waiting. When have you had to wait on God? What made it difficult and how did you maintain your faith?
Praise God for the things you’ve learned about Him in your seasons of waiting. Ask God to help you remain faithful to Him even in seasons of waiting and ungodliness.
Elizabeth Was a Waiting Woman Pt. 2
After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” – Luke 1:24-25 (ESV)
Samuel Morse invented the first telegraph. When the first transmission was made more than a century ago, the message Morse declared was “What hath God wrought.” Someone has suggested if the event were to occur in our times the message would most likely say, “What man can do!”
After years of waiting for a baby, Elizabeth was quick to say “the Lord has done for me.” Elizabeth said God “looked on me.” That phrase means to look at someone with favor or with grace. Not only had God given her a son(John the Baptist), God had also taken away the “reproach” or shame that was associated with barrenness. Elizabeth waited with gratitude and received God’s gifts with gratitude.
G. K. Chesterton said, “When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings with toys at Christmas, why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” What are some of the simple blessings God has given you that you may have taken for granted, recently?
Praise God for the ways He has looked at you with favor and grace. Ask God to help you remain grateful even in seasons of waiting.
Mary Was a Willing Woman
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. – Luke 1:38 (ESV)
On one occasion an orchestra presented Handel’s “Messiah” so beautifully that the applause was thunderous, and everyone turned toward the composer. Handel stood up and with his finger pointing upward, silently indicated that the glory should be given to God rather than to himself. That is exactly what the virgin Mary did as she responded to the angel.
Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord.” She is accepting voluntary slavery. She recognizes she is the property of God and is willing to do anything God wants her to do. When she said “let it be” it meant the ridicule of a pregnancy out of wedlock, maybe being abandoned by her fiance and letting go of the dreams of a happy Jewish wedding. She was a common teenager with an uncommon faith.
Are you available to God this Christmas? Are you ready to say “yes” to Him? Or, are you holding back? Is there anything that God is going to ask you to surrender to Him that He won’t more than replace? Is there anything worth holding onto at the expense of letting go of God’s best?
Follow Handel and Mary’s example and give God glory for the great things He has done. Ask God to show you anything He wants you to let go of so He can replace it with His best for you.
Mary Was a Willing Woman Pt. 2
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7 (ESV)
Kent Hughes – If we imagine that Jesus was born in a freshly swept, county fair stable, we miss the whole point. It was wretched—scandalous! There was sweat and pain and blood and cries as Mary reached up to the heavens for help. The earth was cold and hard. The smell of birth mixed with the stench of manure and acrid straw made a contemptible bouquet. Trembling carpenter’s hands, clumsy with fear, grasped God’s Son slippery with blood—the baby’s limbs waving helplessly as if falling through space—his face grimacing as he gasped in the cold and his cry pierced the night….No child born into the world that day seemed to have lower prospects.
The Son of God was born into the world not as a prince but as a pauper. We must never forget that this is where Christianity began, and where it always begins—with a sense of need, a graced sense of one’s insufficiency. Christ, himself setting the example, comes to the needy. He is born only in those who are “poor in spirit.” (Kent Hughes, “That You May Know the Truth”)
Mary was willing to be used by God and was able to experience the birth of Jesus. It was no doubt a painful process but also a beautiful day. Her willingness to be used by God no matter what the cost is a reminder to us all that God can redeem and use the most improbable situations to bless the world around us.
Years ago an interesting sign was seen hanging in a store window during the Christmas season. The original message stated, “Let’s make this the best Christmas ever.” Underneath, some perceptive person had scribbled a legitimate question: “How will we top the first one?” What’s one way you can make this Christmas one of the best you and your family have ever had?
Thank God for the way He came to the earth and the way He is able to sympathize with your struggles. Ask God to help you find ways to cling to make this Christmas season one of the most meaningful you’ve ever experienced.
Anna Was a Witnessing Woman
And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. – Luke 2:38 (ESV)
Ray Stedman, noted pastor and author, once traveled to England to speak at a Bible conference. The church sanctuary was filled with people eager to hear this well-known teacher. The service began with singing and praise to the Lord. One of the songs was the chorus “Our God Reigns.” Stedman, seated on the platform next to the pastor, glanced down at the song sheet and began to smile. Then he started to laugh. The words on the song sheet had been mistyped. The congregation was belting out the words, “Our God Resigns.”
Our God has not “resigned.” He reigns forever and ever and His kingdom is everlasting! When Jesus was born the nation of Israel had not heard from God in over 400 years and some believed He had resigned. In Luke 2:36 we meet a prophetess named Anna who had been “looking” and hoping to see the “redemption of Jerusalem.” Anna is notable as a prophetess because there had not been any truly inspired spokesperson for God for those silent 400 years. She is there when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus into the temple to be circumcised. And Anna proudly told everyone she could that the Messiah had been born.
Anna is a model for us. She waited for God but also witnessed for God. It’s been said, “When we see more of God, we say more of God.” Anna saw Jesus and said something about it. Have you shared the message of Christmas this season? Have you spent time getting to know Him in a way that you can’t help but share about Him?
Thank God that He is not silent and desires to speak to you through His Word and His Spirit. Ask God for an opportunity to witness for Him today.