Saturday, December 2, 2017

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Visitation of Virgin Mary to Elizabeth: Divine Fellowship
Luke 1:57-66  
Vs.64: “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed , and he began to speak, praising God”.
Today’s passage describes the birth, circumcision, and naming of the great prophet and forerunner of Messiah, John the Baptist. Just like all other annunciations, Luke’s narration includes words of the angel, prediction about the birth of a male child, his name & mission. Today’s text, circumcision and naming ceremony highlights -  
1. The extension of a great joy: The angel of the Lord tells Zechariah that his son will be a joy and a delight to both him and many others (Luke.1:14). Luke’s narration confirms the fulfilment of annunciation. When John is born, Elizabeth’s relatives and neighbours share her joy. What neighbours heard, however as a theological interpretation of the birth “that the Lord had shown His great mercy to her. The cause for rejoicing therefore shifted from the birth to the demonstration of God’s glory (NIB) .There is an element of joy and hope in every human being’s birth. This is not limited to his or her parents. A new baby is celebrated by the extended family, the church and the community. As the baby grows, he or she will be a joy to friends, neighbours and other fellow beings. The extension of joy is limitless.

2. The exposition of an inspiring word: During those days, according to their tradition, the naming of the child was part of the circumcision ceremony and the name of the child is very significant. Normally the child’s father would preside over the ceremony. Because Zechariah was dumb, he seems to have been less involved in the ceremony. Here Elizabeth interrupted insisting that the child’s name was John which means “God is gracious to us”. Since this was not the name of the child’s father or any relative, strong rejection came from the people who had gathered there to attend the ceremony. As per her vision, Elizabeth stood her ground against the majority. Zechariah was made aware of the problem and given the opportunity to decide upon the issue. When he wrote the words, “His name was John” on the tablet, he once again was given the power of speech. The first thing he does is praise God . As parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, went through a crisis, a parental crisis, but they found its solution in relation to their vision and guidance from God.
 3. The experience of Glorious Majesty: The naming of John and Zechariah’s recovery brought fear and amazement both to the neighbors and throughout the hill country of Judea (v.65). Fear is a typical response in Luke’s gospel to a disclosure of God’s power. This is a reverence of the divine majesty. As a godly couple, the witnessing  life of Zachariah and Elizabeth  inspired  others to experience the joy of Divine grace and the majesty of Divine intervention. From the life, vision and experience of this dedicated couple we can learn that God’s blessings always demand our creative responses and decisions particularly in the midst of challenges. May God help us to become an inspiration for others to know God, to discern His word  and to experience His glorious majesty.
O Lord, help us to understand Your inspiring word and strengthen us to be an inspiration for others…….Amen.
Be thankful to God for His abundant blessings and be conscious about our response towards His generosity.      
Rev. Shibu Mathew, Bishop's Secretary, Adoor
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church