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God’s Word for You

Luke 11:27-28 blessed and still more blessed

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Woman Praises Jesus’ Mother

    27 While he was saying these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”
    28 Jesus said, “Still more blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”

This passage is unique to Luke. To praise the mother of Christ is no sin. Gabriel said that Mary had found favor with God (Luke 1:28, 30) and Elizabeth praised her: “Blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:42). Mary herself prophesied: “From now on all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48).

This woman in the crowd was moved to cry out this way because of the answer Jesus had just given to the Pharisees about the source of his power. Many in the crowd were clearly moved by Jesus’ answer and they delighted that he so quickly and neatly responded to the slander raised against him. This woman thought, rightly, that it must have been an amazing blessing for Mary to have become his mother. We should remember that the details of his nativity were not made public until Luke produced the Gospel before us.

When Jesus responded, he did not dismiss her words or even contradict them. The Greek particle menoun (μενοῦν, some witnesses have the longer μενοῦνγε which is virtually identical in meaning) does not contradict as if to say, “instead” or “rather,” but is more along the lines of “indeed” or “even more.” For example, if I were to praise my sister-in-law’s lasagna by saying “It was good,” my brother might add, “More than that—it was delicious, and so was the whole dinner!” He wouldn’t be saying that I was wrong, but that I didn’t go far enough. That’s what Jesus is doing here. To be his mother—the mother of God!—was an amazing blessing, to be sure. But “more than that,” what an amazing and eternal blessing to be any of those who hear the word of God and keep it.

In another sense, there is a spiritual application here that naturally comes attached to the protecting environment of the womb and the vital nourishment of a mother’s milk. Hearing the word of God and keeping it is to be drawn into the womb of the church, the protecting environment God has prepared for his people. The vital spiritual milk of the basic or simple gospel is a theme used by Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:2), and Peter to the people of Asia Minor (1 Peter 2:2-3). The writer to the Hebrews also says: “You need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Hebrews 5:12). We have this milk, and solid food, too. We have the words of everlasting life. We have the gifts of forgiveness, faith, and the resurrection in Jesus. We receive from him everything we need for eternal life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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