A Study on the Birth of Jesus Christ

Luke Chapter 1, Verses 48-56

Please return to the main page of this study for the introduction and other verses.

By Mary E. Stephens
Oct. 2014

Luke 1:48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

The indication here is that Mary was probably not from a wealthy or upper class family (socially, financially or in the religious realm). Possibly she refers to her low estate as a sinner, but other scripture indicates that Jesus' earthly family was neither wealthy nor elite religiously. She was marrying a carpenter, after all.

Truly, she has been called blessed. She was peculiarly blessed in the privilege of bringing the Messiah into the world. However, it is important to remember that Jesus Himself said that those who hear and keep His word are more blessed than Mary! 

Luke 11:27-28 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

As I mentioned in another article, Jesus agreed with the woman in a sense. He said "Yea", meaning that yes, Mary was blessed. But, then He continued by saying, "rather," meaning "instead" or "these are in a sense more blessed than that." (There are people in the U.S. that use the word "rather" instead of "whether." Please don't let this confuse you. In the context here it appears to me that "rather" is being used in this meaning: "used to precede an idea that is different or opposite to a previous statement.")

Christian friend, this should be a inspiration to us to hear and keep God's word. What's more, it shoots a fatal hole in the idolatrous veneration and worship of Mary practiced by many in the Roman Catholic church. Anyone who hears and keeps God's word can be more blessed than Mary! And, that makes sense when you stop and think about it because hearing and keeping His word bears an eternal reward, not just an earthly privilege! It's also important to remember that God's word is a person as well as a book. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Luke 1:49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

God did do great things to her. The miracle of the Son of God becoming an embryo and being born even as we are, yet without sin in Himself, stands as one of the signposts to the miracle of our salvation. No other "god" (including the "God" of the Mormon church) has the pure and holy reputation of the Almighty God of the Bible. No other "god" ever became flesh and dwelt among us through the usual means of birth while also showing us the glory of God. Nor has any other "god" been full of grace and truth as Jesus Christ is. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

She also says "holy is his name." Please notice that Mary is clearly telling us in these verses that she is not "holy Mary, mother of God." There is only one "holy" and that is God Almighty. All holiness that comes to us comes through His Holy Child Jesus, (Acts 4:27 and 30) and through the filling of His Holy Spirit. 

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Luke 1:50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

This possibly gives us some indication that Mary's parents feared God. Judging by her character and the culture she lived in, this is plausible. In reality, though, we don't know anything about them.

Luke 1:51-55 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

It is a little hard to know for sure whether Mary is speaking of herself or of Israel in vs. 50-53. In the context, either is possible.

If she is speaking of herself, this is reminiscent of Hannah's declaration in 1 Samuel 2. The indication would be that Mary came from a very humble, low esteemed, poor family in Judah. The idea could be taken that there were those who would have imagined themselves worthy of this honor given to her who were passed over by God and put down from their high and mighty position.

If she is speaking of Israel as a nation and the heirs of Abraham and the promises, then she would probably be thinking of the Roman Empire that ruled over Israel at that time. Certainly Rome was proud, mighty, and rich. In looking forward to Israel's Deliverer and Savior, she could have been anticipating the deliverance of Israel from Roman domination and the coming of the promised and long-expected Kingdom.

In either case there is an encouraging reminder here. God is in the business of delivering and blessing those that fear Him. We may be dominated by the mighty, humbled and put down by the proud, and poor and hungry; but God is not only able to overturn all those things, at some point He will - in this life or the one to come. He is always merciful to those who fear Him.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Psalms 138:6-7 Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

And as Hannah said in 1 Samuel 2:8, He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them. (The Psalmist later partially quoted this in Psalm 113.)

It is also important to remember with Mary, that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of prophecies that were given to Abraham and the fathers of the nation of Israel and to the nation as a whole. Some of the prophecies that were made to them, even some regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, have not yet been fulfilled. God is not slack concerning His promises. He will keep them to the last letter. Stay tuned. There's more to come. 

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Luke 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

It's interesting that we are specifically told that Mary was there three months before she returned home. As I mentioned before, it's likely that it was somewhere in this time frame that she was "found with child" (Matt. 1:18).

Also, please note that it says she "returned to her own house." Again, this is extremely interesting in light of the claims of the Patriarchy Movement regarding the relationship between fathers and daughters. In the Old Testament sense it would have been expected for her to "return to her father's house", not "her own house." (See Judges 19:2-3 for the idea, but it's used often in the Old Testament.)

In thinking over all that the Lord has told us and not told us about Mary so far here, I really think that He has done all this to make a point. Considering practices of the past and the attempts of groups like the Patriarchy Movement (including Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, etc.) to re-introduce some old practices regarding daughters, it seems really significant that God is making a strong point that He isn't running on that program! I don't know about you, but I've been a little surprised at the extent of it. It doesn't look a bit like the whole "daughters-should-stay-home-till-they-marry" or "daughters-should-always-be-totally-under-their-father's-authority-till-they-marry" type teachings. 

It also doesn't look like God intends to deal with daughters or women exclusively through their "male head." It looks to me like there needs to be some reconsidering here, even in my own thinking. While some of those things may have benefits (living at home with family does have its benefits in some situations), I think we need to stop and think about the apparent fact that Mary was living on her own and not under her father's authority and still GOD CHOSE HER to be the mother of His Son! The extreme views that the so-called Patriarchy Movement holds against feminism, are just that - extreme. And, their reactionary views that tend to run to excess in the opposite extreme from feminism are insupportable in the face of what the Bible actually says.

Which brings up something that I've been thinking about for some time now. While I believe the Bible when it tells us in Titus 2 that wives should be "keepers at home", I have come to realize that it is perilous to build up a huge belief system and extensive traditions based on one little phrase in one verse. Yes, I believe that phrase. But, how much can we really build that one phrase into before we are guilty of inventing traditions of man that supersede scripture? There is very little other scripture we can add to that to support the massive rules, ideologies, and "standards" that have grown up around it. If we're going to claim to believe that every word of God is true and that it is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice, we jolly well better have the honesty to admit what it doesn't say, and not make mountains of practice based on molehills of actual text. This is the same folly that the Jewish religious leaders fell into prior to Jesus' day, and He rebuked them sharply for it! 

Mark 7:6-13 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

This is not where I intended to end the study this time, but I think this is an important point that we would do well to consider and think on for a bit. Obviously teaching our own traditions and ideas where there isn't a commandment from God is very serious business. I realize there is a command given, but I just want to again emphasize all that is NOT said there, and how little other scripture there is upon which to lean for further interpretation. Let's beware of building up a lot of ideas and interpretations and definitions on a tiny base of actual scripture. That only leads to elevating our own, or anyone else's, traditions above the word of God, and that is very dangerous ground!

Colossians 2:1-4 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.


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