26th December 2022
Read - Luke 1:39-50 (focus v46-50)
Message - Alan Burke
“First posted Year 2 Day 268 - 15th December”
It’s hard for us to truly appreciate the significance of the announcement of Gabriel to Mary. Yes there was hope of Jesus, a saviour, who would have the throne of his father David, whose kingdom would be without end (29-33) this hope was indeed a wonderful one. Do not forget though what lay ahead for Mary, for at age thirteen maybe fourteen as an unmarried woman betrothed in a culture where reputation and chastity meant something, the entirety of her future of everything was now uncertain. She would have to deal with the constant questioning about the legitimacy of her son, Jesus himself faced it as the jews sarcastically said things to him like “We are not illegitimate children,” (Jn 8:41). For Mary the road ahead was going to be a tough one yet she in faith submitted to the Lord. Although Mary had not asked or demanded a sign and went forward in faith, the Lord by his grace gave her such a wonderful confirmation in Elizabeth and the words she spoke to her.
Those words of Elizabeth acted as a conformation of what she had already been told and in response Mary praises the Lord. It’s as if the words of Elizabeth are a trigger for her to verbalise what the Lord is doing. Mary believes by faith and so her joy is great and her soul magnifies the Lord. This song of praise known as the Magnificat, from it’s opening word in Latin, it speaks of the Lord’s concern for the poor and despised of this world and the rejection of the rich and the proud, we see that as in v47-50, how ‘God Lifts the Humble’ and in v51-55 how ‘God Humbles the Proud’. As she begins by praising the Lord, her spirit rejoices, that is her inmost being praises the Lord, her heart, mind, all of her is praising, rejoicing. The reason why is that God is acting on her behalf and he is acting on His peoples behalf through her. She rejoices in God her Saviour (47), and the saviour of his people, understanding that this is what the Lord had been doing throughout the ages for his people, throughout redemptive history, how he had promised to bring salvation to them.
Mary understood something that for many people they find hard to grasp, as she rejoiced, she did so not in her current situation but in God her Saviour. She knew that she needed saving by God, she knew that she was a sinner just like all of us, for each one of us, every person on this planet has sinned against God, the only human to ever escape the stain of original sin was Jesus. Mary’s joy comes in and through this child who was to come, and has come and will come again, for as the angel Gabriel had told her is name would be Jesus, meaning God saves, this child would bring salvation to his people, he is the Savior of sinners who would soon be born (Matt 1:21). This child to come can only be our Saviour if we know we need saved, if we understand our sinful condition, then we will be able to understand the joy that Mary had in the salvation of God.
For Mary knows that the God that she praises, is gracious and faithful to those who fear him, who acknowledge him rightly. For his changeless faithfulness has been clear, for all in ever generation of the people of Israel and Mary sings of how such faithfulness will also be for future generations of God’s people (48). God’s favour is specifically directed at those who fear God, Mary is a God fearer, who acknowledges the holy and exulted position of her God. His mercy extent to those who fear him, those who acknowledge him rightly, we fear God today (Proverbs 9.10) with a filial fear - a fear a child has for their parent. We know how powerful He is and we know He will one day pour out His anger upon those who stand against Him, who have not trusted in the Saviour, but for those who do his mercy extends to them (50).
Q33 What is justification?
Justification is an act of God’ s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, (Rom. 3:24–25, Rom. 4:6–8) and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, (2 Cor. 5:19,21) only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, (Rom. 5:17–19) and received by faith alone. (Gal. 2:16, Phil. 3:9)