most people’s feelings about mary, the mother of Jesus, fall into one of these two camps. what about you?
yesterday’s talk was an examination of luke 1.26-56. we looked at it in two chunks.
chunk #1: luke 1.26-37
it’s here where we learn most of what we know about mary. we learn a little more later on, after Jesus begins his adult ministry. but what we know of her character and righteousness is found here. in the talk, i identified 4 things we learn…
1. she’s a teen. actually, scripture doesn’t reveal mary’s age, but studies of 1st-century jewish culture teach that girls of that day were given in marriage while in their early teens, usually by age 15. so she’s young. she’s barely lived long enough to do anything to impress God enough to be chosen as the mother who bore the Savior.
2. she’s from a hick town. her home was nazareth, which was so small that until recently, many archaeologists disputed its existence in ancient times. nothing about mary’s hometown makes her anything.
3. she’s a virgin. virgins don’t have children.
4. she has no lineage. her family name before marriage is not even noted. she will marry into the royal line when she marries joseph, who is a direct descendant of david. but she is not married yet. she has no name.
i hope you see where this is going. these four things mean one thing: mary is a nobody. in the eyes of the world, she is easily passed over, and has virtually no merit in her own culture. yet God has chosen her, out of all women in history, to be the mother of his Son.
note this: this first passage is not about mary at all. it’s about God.
verse 37 – for nothing is impossible with God.
…and God goes to great lengths to remind us of that by choosing mary.
chunk #2: luke 1.38, 46-55
the first verse here is key. it is mary’s immediate response to all that the angel gabriel says.
mary: “i am the Lord’s servant. may everything you have said about me come true.”
THIS is what makes mary special. her willing obedience to live into everything the Lord has for her. THIS is the model that we should all follow.
verses 46-55 are called the Magnificat, which is a latin term meaning “to magnify.” mary sings as her soul and spirit magnify – or make bigger – the Lord. the song she sings is in 4 parts, each corresponding to a phase of the christian life.
1. verses 46-47: mary connects with God in her soul and spirit. God has established this relationship because only God can. when God comes to us, we feel it in our soul and spirit.
2. verses 48-49: after God establishes the relationship with mary, she begins to understand what God has done for her. for her. the same goes for us. once God moves in our lives, he gives us the ability to see all that he has done for us in Christ, through his death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
3. verses 50-53: the next step is to understand how God works. God works in ways that are completely contrary to the ways of the world. in God’s economy, the weak are the the strong, the poor are the rich, the losers are the champions. as Christ-followers, not only do we need to learn this, we need to live it.
4. verses 54-55: finally, mary’s song reminds us that what God is doing, he has always been doing. that is, the whole of human history is one continuous story – the creation and redemption of a people for the glory of God. mary, even as a teen, understands and celebrates this in her song. she sees that the child she will bear will be the redeemer, and the glorious story of God will continue. you – if you are a follower of Jesus – are also a part of that story and that people. you are part of the redeemed people if Jesus is your Savior.
for thought and conversation…
1. how willing are you to let God do all he wants in and through you?
2. in which of the four phases of mary’s song would you say you are?