39Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
In this section of his gospel, Luke is interweaving two birth narratives. In the midst of recounting the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, Luke also tells the birth story of Jesus’ cousin and forerunner, John the Baptist. What happened when Mary, with the Son of God in her belly, visited Elizabeth, who was also great with child? The babe in Elizabeth’s womb leapt with joy as the promised Savior drew near! This boggles our minds: How could baby John have known that baby Jesus was near? How did baby John know to leap for joy even enclosed in his mother’s womb? This is a great mystery. And yet again and again, we find that God loves the children of his people, even in their infancy, and that even babies can have a relationship with Jesus. David, the great Israelite king and psalmist, wrote, “From my mother’s womb, You have been my God” (Ps. 22:10). When godly parents brought their infants to Jesus, he did not turn them away, but blessed them and declared, “Of such is the kingdom of God!” (Lk. 18:17). We may not be able to explain how babies belonging to Christian families can be believers, and yet it seems to be the consistent teaching of Scripture. Our children belong to Jesus and to his church from their earliest days. All throughout the Bible, God’s promises are to us and to our children (Gen. 17:7). Christian fathers and mothers are blessed, as is the fruit of a Christian womb. This is the Lord’s covenant with us!
God draws people into his kingdom in all kinds of ways, at all ages and stages of life. But for children born into Christian homes, we should hope and expect that their experience will be like that of David and John the Baptist, never remembering a day without the joy of knowing Jesus in their hearts. Certainly, we should all be growing in grace, day by day and year by year. Our faith should mature as our bodies and minds mature. But some how, some way, God can work faith even in the heart of the smallest child. If you are blessed to grow up in a Christian home, you should always remember that even before you could speak or demonstrate your love for God, He had already claimed you and declared His love for you. Give God thanks for His mysterious and amazing grace to families!
—Pastor Rich Lusk, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, AL
Our gracious heavenly Father, we give you thanks and praise, for you have made promises to our family. Those promises include loving and caring for us, and filling us with the presence of your Holy Spirit, even from birth. Help us to receive the kingdom of your Son as a little child, and to rejoice in the Savior’s presence, as John the Baptist did so long ago, even in his mother’s womb. Teach us to know and remember your faithfulness to thousands of generations, and help us to respond to the grace you have given us in your Son with whole-hearted trust and obedience. AMEN.
Discuss how God has demonstrated his graciousness to your family. Can any family members remember a time when they did not trust and love Jesus as Savior? How has God shown His faithfulness to you (or your children) even from the womb? What are some ways that your family can receive children in your church in the name of Jesus (Mt. 18:5)?