Blessed Is the Fruit of Mary's Womb (Luke 1)
- Liturgical Date: Advent Midweek Service – December 10, 2014
- Order of Service: Evening Prayer (HS98)
- Hymns: LSB #352
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." (Luke 1:39-45)
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” This blessing forms the foundation for our Catholic neighbors' veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But Elizabeth's blessing is not about Mary. Elizabeth's blessing is about Jesus. Mary praised God because of the blessing. The blessing of motherhood. The blessing of salvation. The blessing of everlasting life.
As we saw last week, barrenness is a great burden some women bear. These women want nothing more than to be blessed with motherhood. Faithful Hannah besought the Lord with fasting and weeping. Brokenhearted prayer to remove the affliction of her barrenness. High Priest Eli pitied her. After hearing her story, he blesses her that God might fulfill her desire. Not long later, she finds herself pregnant with the prophet Samuel.
The blessing of motherhood caused Hannah to cry out in praise and exultation. We heard her great song of praise earlier. Hannah praised God for His holiness. Even in the midst of her despair, even in the midst of her sorrow, even in the midst of her brokenness, she never lost faith in God. Although barren, while her sister-wife bore children left and right, Hannah loved her God and her husband. When God heard her prayer, she raised up a joyful sound toward Heaven. “The LORD kills and brings to life; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.” In the blessing of motherhood, Hannah saw the Day of the LORD. She saw the resurrection of the dead. Her womb was considered as good as dead, but God brought it back to life. The pity heaped upon her barren head made Hannah feel that she was in the bottom of Sheol, but God raised her up.
God had given her the blessing of salvation. “My heart exults in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.” Hannah's song begins with the acclamation of God's salvation. Mary's Magnificat parallels Hannah's song. Hannah sings because of the blessing of motherhood. Mary sings louder because the fruit of her womb is God's salvation taken flesh. Mary literally holds the salvation of the world in her hands as she cuddles her firstborn Son.
Mary is truly blessed among women. Not just blessed with motherhood. Blessed with the Messiah. She is the mother of the Son of God. The mother through whom salvation comes into the world. The mother who sings with gusto because she believes God's Word will be fulfilled.
God's Word of everlasting life. “The Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Mary's Son is the promised Seed. The Seed of David who will reign on the throne. The Seed of Abraham who will bless all families. The Seed of Eve who will crush the serpent's head. Jesus takes on human flesh to give everlasting life.
Mary sings of God's promise fulfilled to all Abraham's offspring. This Son she would bring into the world would be the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies. The Messiah was coming into the world. And she was His mother.
Blessed is the fruit of Mary's womb! Jesus the source of our salvation. Who exalts the meek. Who fills the hungry. Who forgives the fallen. Now, as we prepare to celebrate His birth, let us rejoice in God our Savior. He has brought us salvation through the fruit of Mary's womb. Jesus, the Son of God. Amen.