Tonight during family devotion, we read a short reading from Jonathan Edwards based on Luke 11:27-28:
While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
Edwards brought up the passages in Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:48-49, where Mary is called "highly favored," "blessed among women," and one who "from henceforth all generations" shall call her blessed. Indeed quite a blessing to be chosen as Edwards puts it "the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that Creator of the world, and the Savior of sinners and the Judge of angels and men."
But then Edwards goes on to focus on the Luke 11 passage. Apparently one listening to the teachings of Jesus broke out in praise and blessed the mother of Jesus, Mary. He goes on to point out the response of Jesus to this statement. Jesus says, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." Edwards writes:
How great a privilege was it to this young virgin to conceive in her womb and hold in her arms and suckle at her breasts, a Child who was the Son of the highest, who was the great and eternal and infinitely beloved Son of God, the Creator and mighty Governor of heaven and earth and the great Savior of mankind. . . . But hearing and keeping the word of God renders a person more blessed than any of those privileges. . . .The woman to who Christ directed himself in the text had been hearing the word externally. Christ therefore here informs her that if she not only hears but keeps this word, he will render her more blessed than that privilege that she spoke of.
Do we believe that today? Can we imagine that we can be more blessed than Mary was, who experienced the wonderful privileges mentioned above? Well, Jesus tell us that we can and are more blessed than Mary if we hear His words and obey them. Indeed as an English speaking nation, we have to quote Dan Wallace, "an embarrassment of riches" when it comes to the Word of God. We have multitudes of translations in our language. But do we avail ourselves of these riches. Jesus tells us that if we will read, hear, and obey His word, we will be blessed. What a wonderful promise to remember this Christmas. Do we believe this promise? Well, do we read His word? Do we hear it faithfully preached? Do we obey it? If so, we are indeed most highly blessed. Even more so than being the mother or even a blood relative of Jesus (Matthew 12:47-50)
This devotion came from a book entitled "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas." It contains 22 reading from various authors focusing on the incarnation of Christ. I highly recommend it to you for your edification and use during this season.