Weekly Devotional: Raising Up the Humble

“And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever” (Luke 1:50-55 NKJV).

We tend to focus on the spiritual meaning of Jesus’ coming and overlook that within the New Testament, including the Gospels, His coming—which was connected to God’s redemption—had spiritual, political, and social consequences. The Magnificat, Mary’s song, articulates her excitement and expectations: God is showing His mercy to those who fear Him, He scatters the proud, He brings the mighty low and raises up the humble, and He fulfills His promises to Israel’s fathers. The coming of God’s redemption meant a reversal of the current order of things, especially for those of low state.

This same message echoes in the teaching of Mary’s son, who saw His movement as bringing about God’s redemption and the dawning of God’s reign. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. … But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep” (Luke 6:20-21, 24-25 NIV). 

Jesus’ message embodied the hopes of His birth. God’s redemption and His reign dawns. God draws near, especially to the poor, hungry, and those who mourn. And, because of their downtrodden status, Jesus viewed them as blessed. Moreover, He called upon those who would follow Him to care for and be mindful of the weak (see Matthew 19:16-22; 25:34-46). The obedience of His followers to caring for the hurting, poor, hungry, and suffering visibly demonstrates the breaking forth of God’s redemptive reign. 

God’s message of hope in the advent of Jesus is that He is near, especially to the poor, the hungry, the weak, and those who mourn. How do we embody this reality in our daily lives? Celebrating Christmas is not only about Nativity scenes or pageants, or choir cantatas, or even Handel’s Messiah. Christmas means the realization and incarnation of Mary’s song and her son’s message: God is near, especially to the poor, hungry, and weak. 


O, Lord, You are King. You raise up and bring low. You rule the universe, and yet You are near to the poor, the hurting, and the suffering. And so was Your Son. Father, in this season when we remember His coming, may we proclaim Your kingship by being near to those who are near to You. Amen.  

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Weekly Devotional: The Proclamation of Good News

“Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.’ The angel said to him, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news”’ (Luke 1:18-19 NIV).

Luke repeatedly speaks about the “proclamation of good news” within his Gospel and Acts. He uses the phrase “to proclaim good news” as opposed to the noun “gospel.” His language reflects a more Hebraic form of expression and goes back to biblical passages from Isaiah (40:9; 41:27; 52:7; and 61:1), which ancient Judaism understood as part of God’s promised redemption for His people. 

When the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah, John’s father, that he came to announce good news to Zechariah (Luke 1:19), he doesn’t merely mean the birth of a son (although that was certainly tremendous news for the aged couple). Rather, Gabriel’s language hints at the role Zechariah’s son will play in God’s redemptive actions for His people (1:15-17). And Zechariah would have understood that. 

The angels proclaimed to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (2:10 NIV). Their jubilant message to the shepherds—“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (2:14 NKJV)—articulated the essence of the good news they proclaimed: God is fulfilling His promises to His people; the hope of redemption has come! And He does so and draws near through the birth of these babies. 

The worldview of the Bible focuses primarily on the community and collective, as opposed to the individual as we do within Western society. The angelic proclamation to Zechariah and the shepherds announced God’s redemption for His people. It was not for a few. And the individual was not the center of God’s proclamation of good news; it was meant for all people. 

We often personalize our faith: What does the Bible say to me? What has God done for me? And, at Christmas, what is God’s gift of salvation to me? If that is our primary focus, we miss the angelic proclamation—which was about God, His fulfillment of His promises to His people, and the hope of redemption for all the people. 


Father, thank You for the fulfillment of Your good news by sending Jesus. May Your good news of hope and redemption be shown through our lives to the world, and may they know that it is Your good news for all people. Amen.

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