For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. – Luke 1:44
Yesterday in our series through the first two chapters of Luke we spent time with Elizabeth and Mary both rejoicing over the coming of the Messiah through Mary’s virgin womb wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit. The passage is marked by the joyous leaping of the 24 week unborn John the Baptist in His mother’s womb over the visit of Mary, and the fruit of her womb – Jesus.
Last Thursday President Obama gave, as CNN Belief Blog dubs it, “an unusually stark Christian message,” at the White House Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. He said in part, “Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us.”
Today, Monday, December 5, the featured letter on the Obama 2012 blog site is from a 20 year old lady named Lauren who praises President Obama’s track record for “. . . voicing your beliefs and standing up for women’s rights. Thank you for respecting that it is a woman’s choice. Thank you for doing your best to keep the government out of women’s uteruses.” While many journalists agree that last week’s tree lighting ceremony was an unusual display of Christian language, today’s blog is at the very least the antithesis of the Christmas story, at least as far as the gospel of Luke is concerned.
Here (Luke 1:44) the Bible makes a very clear statement about life in the womb. The word Elizabeth uses for “baby” is the same word one would use for a child having recently been born. There is no word in the Bible for “fetus.” This baby, is a baby, and he leaps in worshipful joy in the presence of the fruit of Mary’s womb – that is, the less than four week old baby Jesus. Nearly nine months before the angels rejoiced and the shepherds trembled and bowed, one unborn child rejoiced over the presence of another unborn Child – the Savior.
Ironically appropriate, President Obama closed his address with these words: “[Jesus] grew up to become a leader with a servant’s heart who taught us a message as simple as it is powerful: that we should love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves. So long as the gifts and the parties are happening, it’s important for us to keep in mind the central message of this season, and keep Christ’s words not only in our thoughts, but also in our deeds.”
If we keep these words of God in our deeds, then that includes a recognition of what those words say about life in the womb. If the birth of Christ is a manifestation of God’s love for us, then surely the birth of all babies would be a manifestation of our love for God’s image, our unborn neighbor.
As we mourn the positions and policies of government and heads of state, we are ever reminded of not only the next scene in Luke 1, but the entirety of the message of the Messiah. As Mary rejoices she says, “he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate,” and Isaiah foretold: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. . . Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. . .” One day, all those responsible for the death of millions of babies will be brought down, and those little ones will be exalted. One day we will all bow to the King of Kings and Lord of the Lords: the Prince of Peace who will rule, “with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.”
On the heels of these two conflicting messages, Pastor John Piper’s prophetic word in response to the election of Barack Obama is as appropriate today as it was in January of 2009. Watch this video No, Mr. President. Killing Is Killing No Matter What We Call It.. You may find the entire sermon here .