The Time-Line of Christmas – IV

December 11, 2013
Luke 1:46-55

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

It’s called the “Magnificat” from the first word in Latin of Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1:46 through 55:

    My soul  magnifies the LORD, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.  For
    He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all
    generations will call me blessed.  For He who is mighty has done great things
    for me, and holy is His name.  And His mercy is on those who fear Him from
    generation to generation.  He has shown strength with His arm; He has scat-
    tered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He has put down the mighty
    from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.  He has filled the hungry with good
    things, and the rich He has sent away empty.  He has helped His servant Israel,
    in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to
    his seed forever.

Mary is a marvelous example of a person of profound faith, living her life according to God’s revealed Word.  Look closely at her Magnificat and you will find that this peasant girl had a great knowledge and appreciation of the Old Testament scriptures.

There are several allusions to Hannah’s song of praise recorded in I Samuel 2:1 through 10:

•    Mary – “My soul  magnifies the LORD…” (Luke 1:46).
Hannah – “My heart rejoices in the LORD…” (I Samuel 2:1).
•    Mary – “…my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”(Luke 1:47).
Hannah – “…I rejoice in Your salvation.” (I Samuel 2:1).
•    Mary – “…holy is His name.” (Luke 1:49).
Hannah – “There is none holy like the LORD…” (I Samuel 2:2).
•    Mary – “He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
(Luke 1:51).
Hannah – “The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces…
(I Samuel 1:10).
•    Mary – “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.
(Luke 1:52).
Hannah – “The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. 
        He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
        to set them among princes and to make them inherit the throne of glory.
(I Samuel 2:7, 8).
•    Mary – “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent
        away empty.” (Luke 1:53).
Hannah – “Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, And those
        who were hungry have ceased to hunger.” (I Samuel 2:5).”

And there are a two more allusions I see:

•    Mary – “And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
(Luke 1:50).
Ten Commandments – “For I, the LORD your God, am…showing mercy to
        thousands [of  generations], to those who love Me and keep My
        commandments.” (Exodus 20:5 and 6).
•    Mary – “He has helped His servant Israel…” (Luke 1:54).
Isaiah – “‘But you, Israel, are my servant….I will help you,’ says the LORD…
(Isaiah 41:8 and 14).

Oh, that our lives as Christians would reflect such knowledge of the Word! 

One more thing – as we saw in The Time-Line of Christmas – III on Monday, Mary traveled to her cousin Elizabeth probably because she needed another human being to understand her situation of being called to bring forth God’s Messiah into the world.  She must have been in turmoil as to how it would all work out – especially concerning Joseph, her beloved betrothed, as well as the social and legal implications of being pregnant and unmarried.

But here – in Luke 1:42 through 45 – we see by Elizabeth’s greeting that Mary received powerful confirmation of God’s purpose:

    Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  But
    why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 
    For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the
    babe leaped in my womb for joy.  Blessed is she who believed: for there will
    be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

And so we see Mary at peace, and praising God!  May we – in our difficult circumstances – follow the example of Mary!

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