Summary: Mary, the mother of Jesus, responds to what she has been told about her son with a bold declaration about God’s habit of overturning the status quo. Mary speaks about God as one who will not let powerless and discarded people remain trapped in those conditions. Her words offer more than wishful hope or religious platitudes; they restlessly and impatiently urge God to spring into action. Listening to Mary respond to her pregnancy has particular poignancy for Christians during Advent: she rouses us into action and expectation. This passage also can help citizens of certain nations think about the long-running war our countries continue to wage, leading us to consider its costs and burdens and to join God in God’s commitment to fostering a different kind of existence.
Summary: The Gospel according to Luke begins unlike any other Gospel. Describing the miraculous conceptions and births of John the Baptizer and Jesus, the opening chapters bring promises and yearnings from the Old Testament into conversation with the new things God is doing. They direct us to read the Gospel in light of how the people of God have come to understand who God is, drawing on old traditions and language. They characterize Jesus’ coming as the advent of God’s promised and hoped-for future.
Read the full article, and listen to an accompanying podcast, in the “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Bible but Were Afraid to Ask” section of EnterTheBible.
Summary: Tragedies, like the mass slaughter of schoolchildren in Connecticut, prompt some to offer cringe-worthy declarations about how God might be or not be active in our lives. But the song of Mary, Jesus’ mother, teaches us to speak about God more responsibly.
Summary: In this biblical passage, Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus with costly perfume. It’s a gift of lavish, extravagant devotion that sets a foreboding yet fitting context for Jesus’ impending death.
I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.