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Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 13: Joy to the World
John Pond, Director of Missions, West Chowan Baptist Association
December 02, 2009
3 MIN READ TIME

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 13: Joy to the World

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 13: Joy to the World
John Pond, Director of Missions, West Chowan Baptist Association
December 02, 2009

Focal Passage: Luke 1:46-55

“Joy to the world! The Lord
is come; Let earth receive her king;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing.”

One of three hymns contained
in Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ birth, this song, traditionally called the
“Magnificat (magnify or praise) of Mary,” exalts the God who promises, fulfills
those promises and sustains those who believe. She praises Him for His care for
her (1:46-49) and for others (1:50-55). In her response of jubilant praise to
the reality of the promised child she is carrying, Mary voices what one has
called the “most revolutionary document in the world.”

It was revolutionary because
she saw herself as God saw her. Recognizing her low status and the seriousness
of her condition socially, she can only rejoice in God her Savior. Thus,
regardless of perceived circumstances or self-image, God is merciful to those who
fear him, sustains those who hunger and lifts up those of lowly position.

It was revolutionary because
God sees us as we are and responds in power and mercy. He eliminates the world
of titles and classes. Regardless of status or estate, God remembers his mercy
and responds with His faithful love (1:54). Isaac Watts captures the thought
where he writes, “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the
ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

It was revolutionary because
God has broken the silence and spoken His word of grace and salvation to all
who will listen and believe. What was promised to an aging couple (Abraham and
Sarah) is fulfilled and truly that is joy!

William Barclay tells the
following story: Muretus was a wandering scholar of the middle ages. He was
poor. In an Italian town he became ill and was taken to a hospital for waifs
and strays. The doctors were discussing his case in Latin, never dreaming he
could understand. They suggested that since he was a worthless wanderer they
might use him for medical experiments. He looked up and answered them in their
own learned tongue, “Call no man worthless for whom Christ died.”

“Joy to the world! The
Savior reigns!”

Oh, that we would join our
hearts and voices with Mary and exalt He who has given us the greatest gift of
all — His Son, who “rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations
prove the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love.”

Joy to the world!

Perhaps when we have
experienced the revolutionary significance of Christ’s birth as Mary did, we
would sing those words with passion and power.