Summary: Christians celebrate God’s mercy at Christmas.
Title: Mary’s Song
Text: Luke 1:46-55
Truth: Christians celebrate God’s mercy at Christmas.
Aim: I want them to appreciate God’s mercy and appropriate God’s mercy to their life.
Life ?: Why do we celebrate God’s mercy at Christmas?
Mary would not have made Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People of 4 B.C., but she is the most famous and fascinating woman in history. People still claim to see her today. Lourdes, France, in the S.W. of France, has a population of 15,000. In 1858 a young woman claimed to have 15 apparitions of “a Lady” that was interpreted to be Mary. Today, this town of 15,000 has 270 motels to accommodate the five million that make a pilgrimage to where Mary was supposed to have appeared. In fact more than 400 reported appearances in the 20th century, more than the three previous centuries combined, has caused some to refer to the 20th century as “Mary’s century.” In August 1997, Newsweek reported a growing movement in the Roman Catholic Church that wants the Pope to proclaim a new, controversial dogma: that Mary is a Co-Redeemer! (Aug. 25, 1997, p. 49)
Because of serious disagreements evangelicals have with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church about Mary, we have not given much emphasis to her. Our Catholic friends teach that not only was she a virgin when she conceived Jesus, but Pope Pius IX in December 1854 proclaimed she was conceived and born without original sin. The Church teaches that Mary remained a virgin all her life. The brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels were from Joseph’s previous marriage of which we have no record. In November 1950, Pius XIII made it official Roman Catholic doctrine that Mary ascended to heavenly glory with Jesus.
This distortion of the biblical record has blurred our view of the mother of Jesus. Mary was a wonderful, godly young teenage girl. This song reveals that her mind was saturated with the Old Testament. Her heart was filled with love and trust and worship of the living God. We do well to follow her pattern of devotion, but we are not to prostrate ourselves as though she is a deity. In fact, this song is a celebration of the mercy of God she receives as a sinner. What do we learn from Mary? Christians celebrate the mercy of God at Christmas. This would be a memorable Christmas if we marveled over God’s mercy as Mary did.
This story fits with the intent of Luke’s gospel. Luke gives an orderly presentation of the coming of the Savior of the world. He makes it clear that John the Baptist is not the expected Messiah but the prophetic fulfillment of the forerunner before the Messiah. This Messiah comes for all people. He is so powerful and inclusive that he uses the most unexpected people to accomplish his salvation. The woman picked to be the mother of God’s Son is an example of the surprising methods of God. She is a teenage peasant girl. Luke being a physician is particularly fascinated that she conceived though she was a virgin. Mary, too, marvels at the mercy God has shown her.
The song is divided into two stanzas. She praises God for receiving his undeserved mercy (v. 46-50). Next she praises God for his rescuing power (v. 51-55). Each stanza has two parts. Two stanzas with two parts make up my four-point message. Mary’s song stresses the mercy of God. This is why Christians celebrate God’s mercy at Christmas because of God’s kindness.
I. CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE GOD’S MERCY AT CHRISTMAS BECAUSE OF GOD’S KINDNESS (LUKE 1:46-48)
This song has been called the Magnificat. That’s the Latin translation of the word “glorify.” The word (megaluno) means, “to cause to grow, expand, or swell up.” She just lost her reputation of purity. Who would believe her story? The 21st century woman may not value a reputation for purity, but for Mary it could mean life or death. It certainly determined if her future was going to be good or bad. What I am saying is that Mary has experienced a depth of God’s mercy that is so great, so expansive that it overwhelms all the potentially terrible things this premarital pregnancy could cause in her life.
In Mary’s day they would fill a glass globe with water. The closer the water filled globe got to an object, the bigger it looked. It could magnify an object three times its original size. Mary has just had a close encounter with the living God. His mercy is so magnified it overwhelmed every negative associated with her premarital pregnancy in a society that took that as the greatest sin a woman could commit! She wants us to know the greatness of God’s mercy.