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My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord

New Testament Lesson 2

Of the women in the New Testament, who would you like to meet? – there is Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary and Martha, Elisabeth, Mary to name a few.

What is it about these women that inspires you?

Why are we drawn to righteous people?

I’d like to ask some difficult questions for you to answer, and I’d like you to think for a moment about your answers.

1- What do you do that draws other people to you?

2- What are you sharing about your faith in Christ through your daily activities?

3- Do your children, parents, friends look to you as an example of righteousness?

Now that we’ve done some self-examination, let’s take a moment and share what we can do to make sure we are attracting people to us for the right reasons.

What can we do to be the righteous person others are drawn to?

In Luke 1:5-9 we learn of a couple that did everything that we have answered.

5  ¶There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judæa, a certain priest named aZacharias, of the course of bAbia: and his wife wasof the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

6  And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and aordinances of the Lord blameless.

7  And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was abarren, and they both were now well bstricken in years.

8  And it came to pass, that while he executed the apriest’s office before God in the order of his bcourse,

9  According to the custom of the apriest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

From these 5 verses, what do we know about Zacharias and Elisabeth?

What stands out to me about this couple is the amount of enduring faith that they had.  Their life had not been easy.  We all know someone, or are someone who has struggled to have a child or has been unable to have one.  The pain of this trial is very powerful.  Yet this couple endured the pain and continued to have faith – even though they were “well stricken in years”.

So, I’m curious what you think about this.  Zacharias and Elisabeth prayed for a child for many many years.  My curiosity I’ll break down into two questions…

Part one – When we want something that is a truly righteous desire, how long are we willing to pray for something before we decide that it just must not be right for us or that it just isn’t going to happen?

Part two – How can we ask in a way that we can be in tune with the Holy Ghost and know when we shouldn’t accept the absence of a “positive” answer as the answer?

I look the trials in my life, in my siblings’ lives, in my friends’ lives and I know that there are so many things that we are either asking for help on, asking for answers or asking for a change of situation.  Looking to Zacharias and Elisabeth should prove to all of us that the Lord has a plan and sometimes giving us the answer right when we want it or think we need it may be in order to fulfill his purpose.

Why did God wait so long to answer Zacharias and Elisabeth’s prayer?

In Luke 1:9-13 we can read how Zacharias received the answer to his prayer…

8  And it came to pass, that while he executed the apriest’s office before God in the order of his bcourse,

9  According to the custom of the apriest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

10  And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

11  And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12  And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13  But the angel said unto him, aFear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a bson, and thou shalt call his name John.

What would his name have been had the angel Gabriel not told him to name him John? (Zacharias, after the tradition of his father).
What was prophesied about John’s mission? (Luke 1:14-17)

  • John would turn many people to the Lord their God (Luke 1:16)
  • He would turn the hearts oft he fathers to the children (Luke 1:17)
  • He would turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just (Luke 1:17)
  • He would make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17)

Why was John’s mission so important?

John 1:6-9 says

6  ¶There was a man sent from God, whose name was aJohn.

7  The same came for a awitness, to bear bwitness of the Light, that all men through him might cbelieve.

8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

9  That was the true aLight, which blighteth cevery man that cometh into the world.

John’s primary focus for his mission was to help others come to Christ.  It is our responsibility, today, to bring people to Christ.

Just as John helped prepare the people for Christ, Elisabeth was there to help Mary.
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary.  Luke 1:26-33.

Why did the Savior need to be the son of a mortal mother and an immortal Father?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

“God was his Father, from which Immortal Personage … he inherited the power of immortality, which is the power to live forever; or, having chosen to die, it is the power to rise again in immortality, thereafter to live forever without again seeing corruption. …

“… Mary was his mother, from which mortal woman … he inherited the power of mortality, which is the power to die. …

“It was because of this … intermixture of the divine and the mortal in one person, that our Lord was able to work out the infinite and eternal atonement. Because God was his Father and Mary was his mother, he had power to live or to die, as he chose, and having laid down his life, he had power to take it again, and then, in a way incomprehensible to us, to pass on the effects of that resurrection to all men so that all shall rise from the tomb” (The Promised Messiah [1978], 470–71).

During the conversation that Mary had with Gabriel, she questioned him how it was possible since she had not known a man.  Gabriel answered that in God all things are possible.  I love that he used the pregnancy of Elisabeth, her cousin, as a sign of that God could do all things.

From Mary’s conversation with Gabriel, what do we learn about Mary?

  1. Mary had found favor with God (Luke 1:28, 30).a.   What does it mean to find favor with God?

    b.  To what other sources do some people look for favor?

    c.  How might looking for favor from these other sources make it difficult to find favor with God?

  2. Mary was worthy to have the Lord with her (Luke 1:28).a.   What can we do to be worthy of this blessing?
  3. Mary was humble and submissive to the will of the Lord (Luke 1:38, 48).a.   Why is it important for us to submit to the Lord’s will?

    b.   How can we become more humble and submissive?

  4. Mary rejoiced in her Savior (Luke 1:47).a.   How can we rejoice in the Savior?

As we continue to read the scriptures from today’s lesson, we will read of the testimonies of Elisabeth when she learned of Mary’s pregnancy.  We will also learn more about the character of Joseph and the role that he would play in Christ’s life.  We will learn of his compassion and love for Mary.  While we study them and become more acquainted with them, our own testimonies will be strengthened.

Luke 1:46 reads  “and Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord”

I would like to share my testimony.  I know that Christ is our Savior.  I know that John the Baptist came and fulfilled the prophecies and prepared the way for our Savior.  I am grateful for the example of Elisabeth and Zacharias.  It was not easy for them and yet they walked in the commandments and maintained their faith through their trials.  I know that Mary was the mother of Jesus and that she was most righteous and choice above all other women.  It is my goal to be a more faithful and righteous woman like her.  I pray that my actions will constantly testify of my love for Jesus Christ and His Gospel.  I know I’m not perfect and that there are always things to work on, but I know that God knows me and loves me.

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