Sunday, May 31, 2015

Can we prophesy?

"Mary and Elizabeth"
by Carl Bloch (1834-1890)

Mary and Elizabeth by Carl Bloch
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 1:39-56

TO CHEW ON: "And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord… '" Luke 1:46

Tradition has it that Mary was a mere teenager at the time she became pregnant with Jesus. Where did she get the wisdom, power, and insight of the magnificent poem/prayer that rolls off her tongue here?

My Bible's footnotes say about her prophetic utterance:

"Note in chapters one and two (of Luke) how the new era is signaled by the renewal of the gift of prophecy, which has been dormant. The various prophecies and songs of these two chapters reflect the best of OT piety and prophecy. The songs and prophecies of Mary (the Magnificat - Luke 1:46-44), Zacharias (Benedictus - Luke 1;68-79), Simeon (Nunc Dimitis - Luke 2:29-32) and Anna (Luke 2:36-38) reflect a naturalness with and sensitivity to God's former revelation in the OT (see for example the Song of Hannah - 1 Samuel 2:1-10)" - J. Lyle Story, commentary on Luke, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1386.

Though we believe the prophetic gift for communicating new words of scripture has passed, the promise of the gift of prophecy continues on to us.

  • Peter on the Day of Pentecost, interpreted the signs of the Holy Spirit's coming as fulfillment of Joel's prophecy: "… your sons and daughters shall prophesy" - Acts 2:17.
  • Jesus predicted that when His disciples went out and testified to hostile hearers, they would be given words to speak (Matthew 19:19-20).
  • He said, further, that when resistance intensified, at the time when His second coming was near, so would divine help in the area of knowing what to say: "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contract or resist "- Luke 21:15.
  • Paul speaks too of how the Spirit-controlled person can be God's mouthpiece (1 Corinthians 2:10-12) concluding with this bold statement: "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches…" - 1 Corinthians 2:13.
  • Indeed, Paul tells the Christians in Corinth to desire and seek to prophesy. His words also give us a sense of what prophecy consists of: "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy …. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men" - 1 Corinthians 14:1,2.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that prophecy has not died out with the magnificent words of Hannah and Mary, Simeon and Anna. Please fill my mouth with Your words of encouragement, instruction, and comfort. Amen.

MORE: Feast of the Visitation

Today the church celebrates the Feast of the Visitation. This Collect begins the liturgy for this day:

"Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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