Advent – Preparing for the Coming King (Day 11, Mary’s Hymn of Praise)

Day 11 – Mary Praises God – Luke 1:46-56

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord

47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.

50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful

55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

This is Mary’s hymn of praise after the angel visits her and tells her she would be giving birth to the child who would change the world.  It is certainly one of the most amazing passages in the Bible.  Mary shows such a confidence in God that she speaks in the past tense of things that have not happened yet.  Further, what she is praising God for would have been seen as treasonous.

NT scholar Scot McKnight writes of this, “If you were a first-century poor woman, if you were hungry and oppressed, if you had experienced the injustices of Herod the Great, and if you stood up in Jerusalem and announced that the proud and the rulers and the rich would be yanked down from their high places, it is likely you’d be tried for treason and put to death for disturbing the ‘peace’” (The Real Mary, 23).

Mary’s faith and theology was steeped in the scriptures of her people.  When Luke later says that Jesus grew in wisdom (2:52), who do we think was teaching him?  Comparing what Mary says here with much of Jesus’ teaching, it is clear his mother played a key role in his education.  And as McKnight later points out, Jesus did take the same stand against oppressive leaders and in favor of the poor and needy…and he was executed for it.

May we today take the same stand for justice, speaking truth to those in power and helping those in need.

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