Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: The Magnificat

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Magnificat

The discourses that ensued after the arrival of Mary to the home of Elizabeth and Zacharias are some of the most beautiful in all of Scripture. These are all captured in the first chapter of Luke. Elizabeth, after being filled with the Holy Spirit and startled by the leaping of John inside her womb, cries out the beautiful words to the mother of Jesus that rightfully places her at a level beyond that of just another mother. "Blessed are you among women!"

Zacharias, after the overwhelming emotional incident of losing his speech only to have it returned with the birth of his son, prophecies with boldness and a grateful heart to the God who provides all that we ever receive.

But it is the speech, the song if you will, that is nestled in between these previous two that has come to be known as The Magnificat. Here we find Mary, who is so overwhelmed by her surroundings and seemingly unfathomable situation, that she cries out to God in a remarkable and unforgettable way. You can read the entire Scripture in Luke 1:46-55.

The content of Mary's outcry is striking. Listen to some of the things she says about God: "He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts, He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble." Luke 1:51-52 NASB

But had He? At the time Mary spoke these words, Israel was under the occupation of the Roman Empire. Herod the Great was their "king" and history shows him to be one of the most ruthless dictators in all of history. This is the same man who ordered the killing of the sons in Bethlehem. Herod was notoriously worried about his own name, his own power, his own wealth. Where is the scattering of the proud? Where is the taking down of rulers?

Mary goes on to say "He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed." Luke 1:53

But had He? Eating the next meal was not necessarily a sure thing for the common folk and the tax collectors were enjoying the fruitfulness of their jobs. Going away "empty handed" was never a concern for their cheating hearts.

The Magnificat, according to some, is a simply a rewording of the famous "Hannah's Song" from 1 Samuel after the miraculous birth of Samuel. In both instances we find these women possessing a single characteristic that I am convinced makes their words ring true, even if the current world situation at the time of their uttering does not coincide with the message of their words. That characteristic is the ability to see beyond themselves. Mary understands with all clarity as she speaks these words that the God who has chosen her to be the mother of Jesus is the same God who provided a mighty work in the past, is the same God who was working out His purposes during her life and is the same God who would fulfill His purposes after she was no longer living. The issue was no longer about her. It was all about God.

Why are we not able to cry out our own Magnificats to God? In part, it is because we fail to see God but through the lens of our own current situation. Have you ever heard an evangelist say to take out the word "world" in John 3:16 and insert your name instead? So, instead of reading "so God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son", it reads, "for God so loved Philip that He gave His one and only son." I appreciate the reason why this tactic is used for salvation message purposes, and I completely affirm that Christ died for me. But, the notion that replacing "the world" with "Philip" is simply not the Gospel and it is not the heart of God.

Mary understands all to well as she speaks these prophetic words that even though she is remarkably blessed by God to be a part of the birth of Jesus, this whole thing is bigger than just her. It is bigger than me. It is bigger than you. We can in all confidence say that God, even today, has and will continue to scatter the proud and bring down the rulers. He has and will continue to feed the hungry while the rich go away empty handed. I am thankful this Christmas season to be a small part of what He is ultimately doing. Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace, goodwill toward all people!

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank for the update newsletter and inspirational message. I knew God would continue to use you and he certainly is, even through this webpage!

-Sheila

December 11, 2006 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Paul, in Bethel Park said...

Beautifully said.

Praise God for the gift he
has given you.

December 11, 2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Something else to consider is when Mary was talking about.

In eternity, God has brought down rulers and exalted the humble.

Such statements may not always be applicable to things in this present time and world.

December 14, 2006 3:25 PM  

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