Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 4
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
1901 ASV Translation:
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?
There is only one difference between the text of the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26: The Textus Receptus uses a short form of the personal pronoun "me" and the Nestle/Aland 26 has the longer (and, perhaps, the emphatic) form. Whether the form is emphatic or not, clearly Elizabeth's question puts emphasis upon "why...to me...to me?"
March 21, 2004
- 1. Luke first recorded that Elizabeth exclaimed loudly that Mary was 'blessed" above all other women and that the fruit of her womb was "blessed" above all other fruit of the womb.
- 2. Then he recorded that Elizabeth asked this question: "Why (the "whence" is an interrogative adverb used in a causal sense as in "from what reason is this?") to me this: that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
- 1. This question is the most natural question in the world when people do not understand the nature of God and His Kingdom and His King and those who have embraced His King/Kingdom. When one is immersed in the foolishness of this world, which considers great status to be a basis for being pampered, it is always a great shock to see someone of great status doing the menial (this world's term for 'degraded') tasks of a servant. Elizabeth, who had spent the greater part of her adult life struggling against the human opinions of 'degradation' and lusting after some way to have others look up to her, was shocked at the idea that her Lord's mother, who was blessed above all women, would show up at her door. The very idea was a shock to her system. She had accepted her culture's low view of herself (though she did not like it) and simply could not imagine the "lady of all ladies" being in her home.
- 2. The issue at stake here is this: Mary is the mother of the Lord. Romanism has turned this into "the Mother of God" because it has foolishly drowned in the status lusts of this world [the level of hypocrisy that exists when the ultra-rich, super-pompous, "Vicar of Christ" declares one a "saint" who appears to have rejected both the wealth and pomposity of the Church is amazing], but the fact is that Mary was God's chosen instrument for bringing His Son (deity) into the realm of humanity for the purpose of redemption. This is, indeed, a matter of extreme exaltation by God of a woman.
- a. Here we must understand "exaltation". What does it mean to be "exalted"?
- 1) The danger is the vocabulary. Every given "word" in a language derives at least some of its "meaning" from the larger context of the overall thinking of those who use the language. If, for example, the overall thinking of those who use the language is governed at a very fundamental level by a conviction that "life" flows out of the experience of sexual gratification, the word "love" as an expression of one's attitude toward another will invariably be tied to the desire to have sex with the "beloved". In this setting, "I love you" simply means, at its most basic level, "I want to use you to satisfy my lust for sexual experience". Thus, the overall thinking gives specific meaning to the individual words. Thus it is with "exaltation".
- 2) With men, "exaltation" means "getting to be the one who dominates and decrees". This meaning arises from man's perverse notion that "life" consists, at least in part, of being in the driver's seat; i.e., "being in control". Because men, in their overall thinking, have an inimical view of God, "life" for them has very powerful overtones of "control" because the concept of "life" is heavily vested in "self-preservation". If God is an enemy, my "self" is always in danger unless I can obtain, and maintain, "self-determinism". If I am "in control" I can blunt the forces of the enemy and maintain my existence in some level of personal satisfaction. In this particular context (an overall way of thinking about the inimical God), being promised the opportunity to "rule the nations with a rod of iron" has enormous appeal because it feeds the "control" frenzy.
- 3) But, with God, "exaltation" means "being the object of another's willingness to make personal sacrifices for the purpose of generating and enhancing one's experience of joy". God's "overall thinking" is not "self-preserving" in the least. It is fundamentally true of "God" that He cannot be destroyed. He never gives "Self-preservation" a second thought; it's completely out of the loop. Therefore, He doesn't "need" to be "in control" in order to make sure the enemy cannot destroy Him. Rather, He "is" in control simply because He is God. Thus, He uses His "control" to underwrite "life". This, obviously, means that He will undercut any who seek to establish "death" in the experience of His "beloved/exalted", but it is not because He fears for Himself. It is because He refuses to permit His "beloved" to be dominated by "death".
- a) Some stumble here because it is obvious that God permitted "death" to be introduced into His creation and it is also obvious from biblical revelation that "death" will ultimately dominate a vast number of persons who were created by God [both angelic and human].
- b) What the Bible says about this is twofold: first, the introduction of death is temporary in respect to God's plans for those He "loves"; and, second, the permanent dominion of death over vast numbers of persons whom God created is necessary to the "life" of those He "loves". Just as it was fundamentally necessary for Jesus to suffer the dominion of death for the sake of those God "loves", so it is also necessary for the wicked to suffer the dominion of death for the sake of those God "loves".
- c) This means that "exaltation" is integrally woven into the fabric of "love". To be "exalted" is to be "loved". But, to be "loved" does not mean "to be given permission to be unloving". Thus, those who are "exalted/loved" by God are those who will use their high position to seek the best possible experience of "life" for those under their authority. In this setting, the promise of "rule with a rod of iron" has nothing to do with self-preservation and everything to do with effective opposition to the forces of death for the preservation of those entrusted into one's care. Thus, "control" is not at issue; rather, "faithfulness to the One in control" is at issue.
- b. What, then, does it mean for Mary to be "blessed above all other women" as the "mother" of the Lord? Fundamentally, it means that Mary has been entrusted with the stewardship of motherhood in respect to Jesus by God. She has been "exalted" over all other women as God's "beloved choice" for the task of bringing the Redeemer of Humanity into this world. But, this is not any kind of basis at all for her to think that she is to take her seat on a throne and begin to demand that her servants do this and that to suit her desires. Rather, as one who fully embraces the truth about God and His King (the "Lord") she simply refuses to be served when there is opportunity to serve. Thus, she shows up at Elizabeth's house because Elizabeth is in need of service as she faces the third trimester of her pregnancy as an old woman. In this sense, Elizabeth is "loved" by Mary and, as the inevitable corollary to love, she is "exalted" by Mary as one who is the object of loving sacrifice.
- 3. Summary:
- a. The real issue of "exaltation" is not what men would have it be. Men seek exaltation as a servant-objective to their real lust: being in the driver's seat and being able to dominate and decree. God, on the other hand, presents "exaltation" as a matter of being genuinely loved. And, with God, being genuinely loved means being the object of another's willingness to be sacrificed as a means of access to the necessities of "life". There is nothing in this regarding any communication of an ability to dominate and decree.
- b. Love, also, must not be misunderstood. With men, "love" is what one gives another because that other has something to give in return. This is the reason "love" among men "dies" -- the expectations of "return" that have driven the "love" have been frustrated and, because "love" is seeking those expected returns, this frustration "kills" the "love".
- c. God has no lack. Thus He seeks nothing for Himself. He seeks to share the glory of His life with others who have need. The only thing God's "love" requires is that it not be turned into "hate". When someone receives "love" and improperly blocks how that "love" is supposed to "flow", the objective of life is blocked and the "love" has been turned into a "vanity". God will not accept that because "vanity" is the foundation of death.